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ALCS Game One Recap: Missed opportunities haunt Blue Jays in opener

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Francisco Lindor’s homerun was all the offence Cleveland would need

MLB: ALCS-Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays 0 Cleveland 2

The Toronto Blue Jays left eight runners on base against Cleveland pitching and Francisco Lindor hit a two-run homerun in the sixth inning to hand Toronto their first loss of the post-season in game one of the American League Championship Series.

Lindor hit a Marco Estrada changeup over the right-centerfield fence with one out in the sixth inning to provide the only offence of the game.

Estrada was pitching well to that point, and pitched well afterwards as well. In his eight inning complete game, he allowed six hits, including the Lindor blast, the two runs, one walk and struck out six. He deserved better but the bats just didn’t show up. It was another brilliant playoff start for Estrada.

The Blue Jays were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position off of Cleveland starter Corey Kluber but when they had him on the ropes, they were unable to capitalize.

In the first inning, the Blue Jays got back-to-back hits from Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion but were unable to cash them in with one out. In the third inning, Russell Martin struck out with Encarnacion and Jose Bautista on first and second.

Kluber went 6.1 innings allowing six hits, two walks and struck out six before giving way to ace reliever Andrew Miller in the seventh inning. Miller struck out the first two batters he faced, pinch hitters Darwin Barney and Melvin Upton Jr. He ended up striking out five of the six hitters he faced. He only gave up a Donaldson single.

Cody Allen came in and closed out the game in the ninth for Cleveland retiring Troy Tulowitzki, Michael Saunders and Kevin Pillar in order. The Jays struck out 12 times in the game and you can’t blame it all on Laz Diaz.

Devon Travis started the game, but left the game in the bottom of the fifth inning when he had to cover first base on a Coco Crisp sacrifice bunt. He grimaced when he stepped on the base, and stayed in for one more batter before being replaced by Ryan Goins in the same inning.

It didn’t look good, and I doubt we will see him again this weekend. We’ll have to see how he responds throughout the series.

Because it is a pre-existing injury, the team may not be allowed to replace him on the 25-man ALCS roster even if they wanted to. It is why Goins was on the roster, so it shouldn’t hurt the Jays as much as it would have had they had their ALDS roster.

FanGraphs

Jays of the Day: Estrada (0.056) was the best, by far. His performance was outstanding save one pitch. Josh Donaldson (0.052), Encarnacion (0.026) and Saunders (-0.001) all had two-hit games.

Jays Suckage: None of the bats were particularly good, but Jose Bautista (-0.133), Russell Martin (-0.163), and Devon Travis (-0.131) let opportunities slip the most.

Up Next: Game two is tomorrow afternoon as the Jays will look to even the series before coming back to Toronto. J.A. Happ will go for Toronto while Cleveland sends out Josh Tomlin replacing Trevor Bauer who was pushed to game three. Game time is 4:00 ET.