TORONTO – The Cleveland Indians suffered their first postseason loss by a 5-1 count against the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on Tuesday afternoon.
But while the Indians missed an opportunity to close out the Blue Jays and advance to the World Series for the first time since 1997, they still hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, and for that, there is no panic within the clubhouse
“We’re up in this series,” reliever Bryan Shaw said after the loss. “I still think we have the upper hand. We’re up, 3-1, now. We’ve got to win one. They’ve got to win three. We’re going to come out and play like we’ve played the rest of the games, and hopefully, it’ll go our way.”
Shaw has had his struggles at points during the 2016 season, and they popped up again at an inopportune time for the set-up man and his team against the Blue Jays in the seventh inning.
Ahead in the count, 1-2, against second baseman Ryan Goins, a bottom-of-the-order hitter for the Blue Jays, Shaw surrendered a lead-off single to left field. Then, right fielder Jose Bautista reached base on an errant throw from Shaw that ended up in foul territory.
After intentionally walking Donaldson to load the bases with no outs, Encarnacion smashed a single up the middle and into center field, driving in Goins and Bautista before Donaldson was thrown out at third base.
“The pitch to Goins was kind of a bad pitch for me, Shaw said. “I left it down. I meant to get it up, but he got a base hit. After that, the ground ball, I didn’t know how much time I had. I tried to rush a little bit. It just got away from me. Obviously, we walked Donaldson to get a force at any base. I got the ground ball I wanted. Unfortunately, it was a little too far up the middle. I couldn’t do anything with it, and that’s what happened.”
Although Mike Clevinger relieved Shaw and got two groundouts to end the inning, the Blue Jays extended their lead over the Indians to 4-1.
Then, Toronto added an insurance run on an RBI sacrifice fly from center fielder Kevin Pillar in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Despite the struggles in Game 4, Shaw is ready and willing to go in Game 5 should the Indians need him to do so.
“I think I’ve gone three, four days in a row the past couple years multiple times, so it’s not a big deal,” Shaw said.