TORONTO -- The Cleveland Indians suffered their first loss in the 2016 postseason with Tuesday night’s 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre, but while that delayed a potential celebration by at least a day, it did not derail their confidence.
With a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series despite the loss, the Indians are just one win away from their first trip to the World Series since 1997.
“We’re still confident,” Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “We believe in ourselves. There’s still a lot of games to be played. We’ve got to have fun. We’ve got to be ourselves, play like the Tribe, respect them. They’re a good team. We know that they can come back. I’ll continue to emphasize. We’ve got to continue to be ourselves and have fun, enjoy the games.
“We’ve got to go out and try to play it the right way and win it, finish the series, play 27 outs.”
In the Game 4 loss, the Indians’ bats went cold against Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez, and when the 15-game winner in the regular season turned things over to the bullpen, the relief combination of Brett Cecil, Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna did not allow a base runner over three innings of work.
Conversely, the Indians’ pitching staff surrendered nine hits and five runs, four of which were earned, and allowed four walks. The Blue Jays used clutch hitting from Michael Saunders, Edwin Encarnacion and Ezequiel Carrera to stave off elimination for at least one night.
“They played better ball than us,” Lindor said. “They outhit us. They outpitched us, and they played defense better than us, so they deserved to win. Their hitters looked a lot better today, a lot more comfortable. Tomorrow’s a different game. We’ve got to focus on (Marco) Estrada and try to be ourselves.”
Right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall added, “They’ve had life every game. They’re playing at home, so that’s not an issue. We go out there and we treat every game the same, win or loss. After the game, guys come in and they’re taking care of their bodies. Nobody’s pouting. We’re ready to go.”
Although the Indians failed in their first attempt to secure a spot in the World Series, starting pitcher Corey Kluber agreed with Chisenhall that the players and coaches have not lost focus of their goal after suffering adversity in the form of a postseason loss for the first time.
“Try to win one more game,” Kluber said. “We’re one win away from the World Series, and that’s what we’re focused on.”