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Indians’ stream of pitchers makes MLB playoff history

OCT 14, 2016: Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller (24) delivers a pitchduring the game against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire).
Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire

Already joining a handful of teams to win their first six playoff games, the Indians distanced themselves from every team in baseball history with their unorthodox Game 3 win on Monday night in Toronto. And they likely wouldn’t have been able to do it without Trevor Bauer’s drone.

The Tribe became the first team in baseball history to win a playoff game without a single pitcher recording five outs, beating the Blue Jays 4-2 and putting themselves on the precipice of their first World Series berth since 1997.

Cleveland used seven pitchers — Bauer, Dan Otero, Jeff Manship, Zach McAllister, Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen and Andrew Miller — to vex Toronto and did so in a way that didn’t have a precedent in the 100-plus years of postseason play. This obscure accomplishment became a possibility when Bauer injured his pitching pinkie while using a drone, forcing the Indians to move his Game 2 start back two days. But, as many could have expected in seeing TBS’ shot of Bauer’s right hand pregame, the extra rest didn’t matter much.

Bauer going only two-thirds of an inning opened the door for Terry Francona to use middle relievers before moving into the tenacious back end of his pen. The veteran manager flip-flopped closer Allen and fireman-style setup man Miller, with the two combining to go the final three innings. The right-handed Allen came in to record five outs before giving the ball to the dangerous southpaw in the eighth, and Miller mowed down the Blue Jays to close out the victory.

Allen entered the game with saves in his previous four postseason outings; he now has a high-profile hold on his résumé.

Game 4 is now a potential closeout contest for the Tribe, who are looking to become the second straight AL Central champion to eliminate Toronto in the ALCS and third straight AL Central team in the Series, following the Royals of the past two seasons.

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