The Blue Jays and Indians played a second consecutive nail-biter on Saturday, as host Cleveland claimed a 2-1 victory and took a 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series.Pitching and defense were once again prominent, as Josh Tomlin and J.A. Happ started it off.Before the series shifts north of
The Blue Jays and Indians played a second consecutive nail-biter on Saturday, as host Cleveland claimed a 2-1 victory and took a 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series.
Pitching and defense were once again prominent, as Josh Tomlin and J.A. Happ started it off.
Before the series shifts north of the border to Toronto, here are some interesting facts from Game 2:
• ALCS Game 3: Monday at 8 p.m. ET on TBS/Sportsnet/RDS
:: ALCS: Blue Jays vs. Indians coverage ::
• Cleveland's Game 2 victory is a good omen when looking back at recent history, as 24 of the past 27 teams who took a 2-0 lead in a League Championship Series (either league) have gone on to win the series, dating back to the beginning of the LCS' best-of-seven game format in 1985. The only three teams who did not consolidate a 2-0 lead to punch a ticket to the World Series were the 1985 Blue Jays and Dodgers, and the 2004 Yankees.
• Furthermore, the winner of Game 2 in the ALCS alone has gone on to the World Series in 24 of the past 30 years -- including 15 of the past 17 years -- dating back to 1985.
• Saturday marked Cleveland's fifth straight postseason victory, setting a record for the franchise. The 1920 Indians won the last four games of that year's World Series, but the Tribe lost Game 1 of the 1948 Fall Classic in its first return trip to the postseason.
• The Indians' win in Game 2 was their second win of the postseason against a 20-game winner. Cleveland defeated Boston's Rick Porcello in Game 1 of the AL Division Series before defeating Happ in Game 2 of the ALCS on Saturday. The last team to defeat two 20-game winners was the 1990 Reds, who defeated Doug Drabek and the Pirates in the NLCS, followed by Dave Stewart and the A's in the World Series.
• The Indians are now 5-0 in Game 2s in the ALCS. They won 5-2 against Seattle in 1995, 5-4 against Baltimore in 1997, 4-1 against New York in 1998 and 13-6 against Boston in 2007. However, it's just the first time Cleveland has taken a 2-0 lead in the ALCS. In each of their previous four ALCS appearances (1995, '97, '98, 2007), the Indians have emerged from Game 2 with a 1-1 tie in the series.
• Dating back to the regular season, the Tribe has won eight consecutive games -- its second longest streak of the season. Cleveland won 14 straight games from mid-June until the start of July. Coincidentally, that streak was snapped by Toronto.
• The Blue Jays fell to 4-3 all time in Game 2 of the ALCS. The last time Toronto claimed Game 2 was in 1993, the year of its last World Series appearance. Including this series, the Blue Jays have fallen into an 0-2 hole three times in the ALCS. The previous two were in 1989 against Oakland and in 2015 against Kansas City.
• Carlos Santana's second inning home run -- his first career postseason home run - exploded off the bat at 109.6 mph, according to Statcast™, making it his hardest-hit homer from the right side this season. It was also the second-hardest hit homer off Happ in 2016, trailing only a 112.7 mph blast off the bat of Baltimore's Manny Machado.
• Josh Donaldson's RBI double in the top of the third snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak for Cleveland's pitching at Progressive Field this postseason. That's the franchise's second-longest home scoreless streak in history, behind a 27-inning run that spanned the 1920 and '48 World Series.
• Donaldson's double was his sixth of the 2016 postseason, topping the previous team record for a single postseason of five, set by Kevin Pillar in 2015. It was also Donaldson's ninth postseason double with the Blue Jays, setting a franchise record. In addition, Donaldson's double snapped Toronto's 0-for-18 streak with runners in scoring position and two outs this postseason.
• Shortstop Francisco Lindor became only the second player age 22 or younger in Indians' franchise history to notch at least four games with a hit in the same postseason. Asdrúbal Cabrera holds the record for Cleveland players age 22 or younger with nine games with a hit in the 2007 postseason.
• Lindor's second hit of the day -- an RBI single in the bottom of the third -- made him the first Indians player to record three multihit games in the same postseason before his 23rd birthday. Lindor's three multihit games is tied for the third most by any 22-or-younger player in postseason history; Derek Jeter (1996) and Elvis Andrus (2010) hold the record with six games.
• Russell Martin's first-inning single was his 35th postseason hit, trying him with Tip O'Neill for the most postseason hits by a Canadian Major Leaguer.
• Lonnie Chisenhall's single in the fifth inning extended his postseason hitting streak to six games, tied with Jhonny Peralta for the longest hitting streak to begin a postseason career in Indians history.
• Originally slated to pitch Game 3, Tomlin gave the Indians all they could ask for, allowing only one run on three hits and two walks while striking out six Blue Jays over 5 2/3 innings. Tomlin led AL starters by throwing 67.8 percent of his pitches for strikes during the regular season, and he followed suit Saturday by throwing 52 of his 85 pitches (61.2 percent) for strikes.
• Tomlin followed his recipe for success from Game 3 of the ALDS by getting ahead of hitters. Of the 20 Blue Jays batters he faced, Tomlin threw first pitch strike to 12 of them. All 12 of those pitches were called strikes.
• The Blue Jays were the Major Leagues' worst team in terms of batting average (.161) and slugging percentage (.237) on balls in play against curveballs during the regular season, according to Statcast™. Tomlin attacked that weakness, going with the curve on 42 percent of his pitches.
• Cleveland starters Corey Kluber and Tomlin have succeeded, in part, by keeping the Blue Jays' leadoff batters off the bases. Batters leading off the inning for Toronto went a combined 0-for-13 against Kluber and Tomlin over the first two games of the series.
• After Bryan Shaw relieved Tomlin for the final out of the sixth inning, Andrew Miller came in and put another show on the mound. Miller struck out Martin, Melvin Upton Jr. and Pillar in the seventh, and then came back to strike out Darwin Barney in the eighth before Ezequiel Carrera grounded out to second base.
• Carrera's groundout ended a streak of 10 consecutive outs via strikeout for Miller in this postseason, including punchouts of seven consecutive batters faced, stretching back to Game 1 -- a run which tied then-Tigers reliever Phil Coke (Games 2-4 of the 2012 World Series) for the most consecutive batters struck out by any pitcher in postseason history.
• With five strikeouts in both Game 1 and Game 2, Miller became the first pitcher in postseason history to strike out at least five batters on consecutive days. Opposing batters are just 1-for-21 with two strikes in the count against Miller this postseason.
• Miller has already recorded three relief appearances with at least four strikeouts, tying an all-time record for the most such games by a reliever in the postseason. Then-Angel Francisco Rodriguez in 2002, and another Indians reliever, Dave Burba, in 1998, are the only other relievers to put up three games with four-plus punchouts in the same postseason.
• The Indians' bullpen has allowed only two earned runs in 16 1/3 innings so far in the postseason, combining 27 strikeouts with only four walks.
*Alykhan Ravjiani * is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.