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ALDS: Red Sox vs. Cubs

Indians sweep way into ALCS in Papi's finale

MLB.com

BOSTON -- The Indians entered this American League Division Series as underdogs, and they do not expect anything to change after they dispatched the Red Sox. Cleveland is used to being counted out, but it also enjoys the challenge of proving people wrong.

Following a 4-3 win in Game 3 on Monday night, a victory that completed a sweep of the favored Red Sox, the Tribe's players partied inside the cramped confines of Fenway Park's visitors' clubhouse. Boston was denied the kind of October comeback it has pulled off in the past, and the only solace for the Fenway faithful was that they were able to send off retiring icon David Ortiz in grand fashion.

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BOSTON -- The Indians entered this American League Division Series as underdogs, and they do not expect anything to change after they dispatched the Red Sox. Cleveland is used to being counted out, but it also enjoys the challenge of proving people wrong.

Following a 4-3 win in Game 3 on Monday night, a victory that completed a sweep of the favored Red Sox, the Tribe's players partied inside the cramped confines of Fenway Park's visitors' clubhouse. Boston was denied the kind of October comeback it has pulled off in the past, and the only solace for the Fenway faithful was that they were able to send off retiring icon David Ortiz in grand fashion.

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No, this time it was Cleveland that made history. Four more wins, and the Indians will reach their first World Series since 1997.

:: ALDS: Red Sox vs. Indians coverage ::

"We might not be the most talented team in this league," said Indians manager Terry Francona, champagne dripped from the brim of his hat. "But, that doesn't mean we can't win. And I think everybody in here believes that. We get to keep playing. That's the best thing I can say. We get to keep playing. Hopefully, when it's time to go home, it can be on our terms."

The Indians dictated the tone of this ALDS series and are now bound for their first AL Championship Series since 2007. Right-hander Josh Tomlin ignored the taunts of a Fenway crowd that mockingly chanted his name and gave a gritty, five-inning effort. Coco Crisp delivered a critical home run, and Francona leaned heavily again on his bullpen to seal the win.

Fittingly, Cleveland will now take on the Blue Jays in the ALCS, starting on Friday (8 p.m. ET on TBS) at Progressive Field. Toronto is led by team president Mark Shapiro, who spent the previous 24 years in the Tribe's front office.

Indians grow into compelling postseason tale

During a break in the celebration, Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said he was looking forward to the challenge ahead against a familiar face.

"I wouldn't be standing here today and having this opportunity, if it wasn't for Mark," Antonetti said as the players partied behind him. "For both of us to advance to the ALCS is really a dream come true. At a minimum, we know one of the two of us is going to end up in the World Series. Obviously, right now, I've got a strong preference on which one."

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Miller fans three over two scoreless

Once again, it was the bullpen that pulled Cleveland home in the ALDS. Francona -- in possession of a 4-1 lead -- went to Andrew Miller with none out in the sixth. The lanky lefty got six big outs and exited with a two-run lead. Bryan Shaw recorded the first two outs in the eighth and closer Cody Allen recorded the last four outs of the game.

Bullpen at its best for Indians in ALDS

"It's impressive because we got it done," Miller said. "This offense that we faced, this team is so great, but particularly from the perspective of a relief pitcher, this offense is just unbelievable. To find a way, it doesn't have to be pretty, and it wasn't tonight.

"I think certainly, Bryan and Cody and I would like to be more efficient and effective and straightforward, but it's just these guys are so darn good. And just find a way to get it done is all that matters at the end of the day."

It was initially difficult for Allen in the eighth inning as Ortiz -- playing in the final game of his career -- walked. Hanley Ramirez stung a single to make it a one-run game. But Xander Bogaerts lined one right to second, and the Indians had escaped another threat. Allen again escaped trouble in the ninth, working out of a two-on, two-out jam and clinching the series by inducing Travis Shaw's flyout to right.

"Our guys battled through it," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "There was a lot on the line there, but we always knew that the pressure was on [the Red Sox]. And that helped us relax a little bit and make pitch after pitch and put the pressure on them, and get a popup in the end."

Just like that, the end of the season for the Red Sox meant the end of the line for the beloved Ortiz, who announced 11 months ago that this would be his final season.

Loss ends Big Papi's legendary career

"Given how we performed as an offensive team throughout the year, and it's not to take anything away from their pitching, but I think there was no more than one run we were able to score in any one inning," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "The inability to string some hits together, generate the bigger inning, that wasn't there.

Clutch hit proves elusive for Sox in ALDS

"So that puts us in a spot where we are today."

For the city of Cleveland, this was a series win to savor. Back in 1999, the Red Sox trailed 2-0 in the ALDS and turned the tables by beating the Indians in five games. In 2007, the Red Sox came back from a 3-1 ALCS deficit against the Tribe en route to the World Series. Back then, Crisp was playing for the Red Sox, and Francona was Boston's manager.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Crisp crushes two-run jack over Monster

"It's a little storybook," Crisp said. "I started my career off with the Cleveland Indians in the big leagues. ... I had been here before and I played for Tito, and played with some of these guys. Storybook? I would say, so far, it is."

This time, Crisp haunted his former team with a two-run shot against Drew Pomeranz (a former Indian) to give Cleveland a three-run lead in the sixth.

Monster mash: Crisp's HR burns former team

It was a series that had crossovers galore. Miller came of age as a reliever for Boston. Now with the Indians, he was one of the key performers in this series.

The Indians broke out first in the fourth. After a leadoff single by Jose Ramirez and a walk to Lonnie Chisenhall, Francona went small ball and Crisp bunted the runners to second and third. That paid off when Tyler Naquin stung a two-run single to break the scoreless tie.

Tomlin did enough to get the win, holding Boston to four hits and two runs over five innings. Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz took the loss, giving up six hits and two runs while walking one and striking out four.

"I don't really know how to describe it right now," Tomlin said. "This is a whirlwind of emotions. In a place like this, in an atmosphere like this, it's tough. We knew it was going to be tough. We knew what we were getting ourselves into coming in. But, we put ourselves in a good position going forward.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Tomlin K's four in series-clinching win

"We put good at-bats together. We made pitches when we had to. And we get to celebrate right now, so it's a great feeling. It's an unbelievable feeling."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
No trouble with the curve: Naquin led the Major Leagues (minimum 50 at-bats) this season with a .366 average and a .715 slugging percentage on offspeed pitches (curveballs, sliders and changeups). With runners on second and third in the fourth inning, Buchholz threw two curves to the rookie. Naquin pulled the second one -- a 77-mph inside breaking ball -- down the right-field line for a two-run single that opened the scoring.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Naquin laces two-run single to right

"My job's to at least push one run across," Naquin said. "I just make sure I got a pitch I could do something with. I tried to lift a curveball up in the air for the first one, and then I got another one and was able to do something with it, and pushed two across. That was a big hit, a big feeling, a big moment. It was just unbelievable."

Papi walks off: With the Red Sox trying to rally back in the eighth, Ortiz -- in what wound up as the final plate appearance of his career -- drew a walk against Allen. After moving into scoring position on Hanley Ramirez's single to left, Ortiz came out for pinch-runner Marco Hernandez. As he came off the field, Ortiz got a loud ovation. From his perch in the dugout, he raised his hands over his head in an effort to keep the crowd-noise high. Roughly 10 minutes after the game, Ortiz thrilled the home fans by coming back out for a final curtain call. He stood on the mound and tearfully tipped his cap, staying on the field for about five minutes.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Ortiz walks, exits game to ovation

"I'm happy, not just for me, not just how my career went down, but for the organization, the step that we took, from going from last place [in the AL East] to winning the division this year," Ortiz said. "Even if things didn't end up the way we were looking for, but I believe that in baseball, especially in the baseball game that we play in today's day, it's a big step because it's like going from bad to good, from day to night. And I told my teammates about it, I want them to feel happy and proud about themselves. And do what I did back in the day. Reflect that in the following year and come back and fight.

Sox: There will never be another David Ortiz

"I told them, 'Listen, we only played three games this playoff, but you guys saw the intensity. You guys saw the emotions. You guys saw the best of the best playing. You guys take a little bit of that. Make sure that carries over for the following year.'"

Crisp's Monster shot: Cleveland acquired Crisp in an August trade to add a veteran bat to its outfield mix and to have a postseason replacement for the ineligible Abraham Almonte. The acquisition paid dividends in the sixth, when Crisp gave the Tribe's pitchers some breathing room with a two-run homer that landed atop the Green Monster. Crisp's shot off Pomeranz made it 4-1. Per Statcast™, the blast had an exit velocity of 103 mph and traveled a projected 394 feet.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Crisp on Indians advancing to ALCS

"I don't know if [Antonetti and GM Mike Chernoff] and the guys get enough credit for the things we do," Francona said. "When we didn't have Abe, that was a big hole. And Coco has the experience and he showed it tonight. He gets down in the count and gets a breaking ball he can handle and hits it out. At the time, those were huge runs, because we had to make them hold up."

Pedroia stab minimizes damage: The Indians had already scored two runs in the fourth and were threatening to lengthen the rally when Roberto Perez stung a grounder up the middle. But Dustin Pedroia made a brilliant stab, gathered himself and fired to first to get the out, the second of the inning. Buchholz struck out Carlos Santana to end the frame and kept the deficit to 2-0.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Pedroia ranges 17.6 ft. for diving stop

Miller Time: After Tomlin allowed a leadoff single to Pedroia in the sixth, Francona handed the ball to Miller. The big lefty opened with a strikeout against Aaron Hill, but Miller then ran into trouble when Mookie Betts pulled a pitch high off the left-field wall for a double. That set up a critical confrontation with Ortiz, who sent a low liner to center, where it was snared on the run by Rajai Davis. Pedroia tagged and scored on the play, cutting Cleveland's lead to 4-2. Miller ended the inning with a strikeout of Ramirez. Miller logged two innings, bridging the gap to Shaw and Allen.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Miller discusses his strong performance

"We're here to win games," Tomlin said. "We're not here to take pride and say, 'You know what? I'd like to go seven innings and get a win.' That's not what it's about. It's about trying to get a 'W' and, knowing what you have in that bullpen, whenever Tito comes out there, you know he's making a decision that best benefits the team, as opposed to one individual. This is not about individual accolades for anybody in here. Everyone's bought into that."

QUOTABLES
"We made a ton of steps. We're in good shape. I think, especially with what David did leadership-wise with a ton of guys, you know, he's leaving us in good shape. We'll be all right." -- Pedroia, on the Red Sox after Ortiz

"I was surprised there were that many people that knew my name, to be honest with you." -- Tomlin, on the crowd chanting his name in the fifth

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Francona on Tomlin, going to bullpen

"We were the underdogs coming out of this one. Nobody predicted we were coming out of this one. But we're focusing more on the people to prove right, the ones in here who are on our side and we're looking forward to the next stage." -- Jason Kipnis

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Crisp became the seventh player (age 36 or older) in Indians history to hit a home run in the postseason, joining Kenny Lofton (2007 ALCS), Ellis Burks (2001 ALDS), Harold Baines (1999 ALDS), Eddie Murray (three times, oldest in 1995 World Series), Tony Pena (1995 ALDS) and Hank Majeski (1954 World Series).

Naquin became only the second rookie in franchise history to drive in multiple runs in one postseason game. Asdrubal Cabrera also achieved the feat for the Indians with two RBIs in Game 1 of the '07 ALCS against the Red Sox.

This was the sixth time in Red Sox history they've been swept in a postseason series. The last four have been in the Division Series.

WHAT'S NEXT
Indians: Due to the three-game sweep against the Red Sox, the Indians can align their rotation as they see fit. The Game 1 starter hasn't been announced, but ace Corey Kluber would be a safe bet to take the ball in the ALCS opener against the Blue Jays on Friday at 8 p.m. ET on TBS.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Indians celebrate as family following ALDS sweep

MLB.com

BOSTON -- The celebration did not start immediately. Cleveland's players gathered in a circle in the center of the small visitors' clubhouse at Fenway Park, bottles of champagne in hand, and waited for the words of Jason Kipnis, who held his drink high in the air.

"One shake for Brant!" Kipnis yelled.

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BOSTON -- The celebration did not start immediately. Cleveland's players gathered in a circle in the center of the small visitors' clubhouse at Fenway Park, bottles of champagne in hand, and waited for the words of Jason Kipnis, who held his drink high in the air.

"One shake for Brant!" Kipnis yelled.

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The Indians' players answered his call with a collective roar and bottles lifted high, twisting back and forth, building up the kind of pressure required for a proper cork-popping party. That opening display, which followed the Indians' 4-3 win over the Red Sox in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Monday night to complete a sweep of Boston, summed up the Tribe.

:: ALDS: Red Sox vs. Indians coverage ::

Kipnis' cry was for Indians outfielder Michael Brantley, who played in only 11 games for the team this year due to injury. The outfielder is done for the year after surgery on his right shoulder, but he was in the middle of the Fenway locker room, dousing his teammates as they sprayed him in return. Brantley can't help on the field, but his teammates still view him as an integral piece to what is taking place.

Cleveland does not boast a payroll like Boston. The Indians do not have the superstar names that will be on the back of the Blue Jays' jerseys during the upcoming AL Championship Series, which begins on Friday (8 p.m. ET, TBS). The AL Central champion, now four wins away from the franchise's first trip to the World Series since 1997, takes pride in finding success through the sum of its parts.

"Everybody loves each other," Indians starter Josh Tomlin said. "We said it from Day One, it's not going to take 25 guys to do what we're capable of going. It's going to take a 40-man roster and guys stepping up and guys getting traded over here, whatever. It's going to take a collective group of guys to do what we're capable of doing."

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Tomlin K's four in series-clinching win

What the Indians did in the ALDS was overcome even more obstacles.

Right-hander Danny Salazar is currently in Arizona working through a throwing program due to a forearm injury. Starter Carlos Carrasco was in the clubhouse celebrating with a plastic sleeve over his cast, protecting his fractured right hand. Without those two arms, it was not a stretch to expect Boston's high-powered offense to overpower the Tribe's pitching.

Cleveland went out and held the Red Sox to seven runs in three games.

"It's just something they've done all year long," Indians team owner Paul Dolan said amid the celebration. "They just stepped up when they needed to and just [did] what nobody else thought they were capable of doing. The depth of the team, the character of this team, I mean they just swept the Boston Red Sox. That kind of speaks for itself."

Video: Lindor discusses victory over Red Sox in ALDS

Moments after speaking those words, Dolan was drenched in champagne by a smiling Chris Antonetti, Cleveland's president of baseball operations. A few minutes after that, Antonetti was splashed by pitcher Trevor Bauer, who had a camera strapped to his hat.

"You having fun, Trevor?" said Antonetti, who then emptied his bottle on the pitcher in response.

No one was safe inside the clubhouse.

Tomlin, who logged five-plus innings in the Game 3 victory, was doing a radio interview when ace Corey Kluber uncorked some bubbly on the pitcher's back. Manager Terry Francona walked into the room and was swarmed by Carlos Santana, Mike Napoli and Kipnis, who dumped three full bottles on their skipper. With his face red and eyes squinted and stinging, Francona poured his bottle on Napoli.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Crisp on Indians advancing to ALCS

"We're happy, we're thrilled, we're honored that we won," Francona said. "We'll let them blow it out tonight a little bit and then we'll regroup tomorrow and start thinking about Toronto."

During the division-clinching celebration in the final week of the regular season, Brantley had to stay back from the mob inside Comerica Park's visitors' clubhouse. The sidelined outfielder was a little more brave -- sans the sling he has worn in recent weeks -- during Monday's festivities. He donned some ski goggles and made sure he was not only on the receiving end of the bubbly.

"It was fun," Brantley said with a smile. "Anytime you get to celebrate with this great group of guys that work so hard throughout this entire year, I'm just so glad to be a part of it."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Cleveland Indians

Monster mash: Crisp's HR burns former team

Naquin's first postseason hit also clutch in Game 3 victory
MLB.com

BOSTON -- Coco Crisp made his Major League debut with the Indians in 2002. He was a spark plug for the '05 team that won 93 games and missed the postseason before being traded.

Crisp had his share of playoff heroics after that, just not in Cleveland. He won a World Series in Boston in '07 and homered off Justin Verlander for Oakland in the American League Division Series in '12.

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BOSTON -- Coco Crisp made his Major League debut with the Indians in 2002. He was a spark plug for the '05 team that won 93 games and missed the postseason before being traded.

Crisp had his share of playoff heroics after that, just not in Cleveland. He won a World Series in Boston in '07 and homered off Justin Verlander for Oakland in the American League Division Series in '12.

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Finally, just a few weeks short of his 37th birthday, he had a chance to do something big in October for the team that brought him up. And as he celebrated the Indians' 4-3 victory over the Red Sox and an ALDS sweep in a champagne-soaked clubhouse at Fenway Park, Crisp could savor his two-run homer as the eventual difference in Monday night's game.

:: ALDS: Red Sox vs. Indians coverage ::

"Sure, it's a little storybook," Crisp said.

All four of Cleveland's runs came from the bottom half of its order, fueled in some part by Crisp. With a scoreless game in the fourth, Jose Ramirez hit a leadoff single and Lonnie Chisenhall worked a walk after fouling off a pair of full-count pitches. Crisp laid down a well-placed bunt to move them along for Tyler Naquin.

Naquin, who missed on 34 percent of his swings against fastballs in the regular season according to STATS, whiffed on a first-pitch curve from Buchholz but connected on the second, sending a ground ball through the right side.

"My job's to at least push one run across," Naquin said. "I just made sure I got a pitch I could do something with. I tried to lift a curveball up in the air for the first one, and then I got another one and was able to do something with it, and pushed two across."

It was the first hit of the series for the rookie. Naquin struck out in each of his first three at-bats, including a called third strike with a runner on first in the second inning on Monday.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Naquin laces two-run single to right

"That was a big hit, a big feeling, a big moment," he said. "It was just unbelievable. That doesn't happen if you don't have those teammates."

Crisp's opportunity for a big swing came two innings later, moments after Boston halved Cleveland's lead with an Andrew Benintendi double off the left-field wall and over Crisp's head. Crisp more than made up for it by clearing the same Green Monster.

Again, the rally began with Ramirez reaching base to lead off the inning, this time off lefty Drew Pomeranz. Chisenhall sacrificed him to second, then Pomeranz hung a 1-2 breaking ball to Crisp, who pounced.

"I didn't actually see it," Crisp said. "No lie, I hit it and I was like, 'OK, I got it. That's a homer.' And then I was like, 'Wait a second, I hit it and that's the Monster out there. It's not really a pull homer.' Then I started running and I had my head down.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Crisp on Indians advancing to ALCS

"I touched the base and looked at the second-base umpire and he started twirling his finger, and that's when I got pumped up. So I didn't actually see it clear, but I'm going to look back at the film so I can see it clear."

Crisp will see the ball land in the seats atop the wall, punctuating his first postseason homer since his solo shot off Verlander in the 2012 ALDS.

It also punctuates a happy reunion. The Indians acquired Crisp in a trade with the A's on Aug. 31, the last day players could change teams and still be eligible for postseason play. Crisp, who spent three seasons in Boston from 2006-08, helped fill the Indians' outfield void with Abraham Almonte ineligible for the playoffs.

"When we didn't have Abe, that was a big hole," manager Terry Francona said. "And Coco has the experience and he showed it tonight. He gets down in the count and gets a breaking ball he can handle and hits it out. At the time, those were huge runs, because we had to make them hold up."

Crisp left for a defensive replacement in the eighth, but it didn't ruin the ending to the story.

"I started my career off with the Cleveland Indians in the big leagues," he said. "We had phenomenal teams back then. To come back here -- and Oakland gave me an opportunity to come back here -- was huge for me. As soon as I walked in here, these guys treated me like family and it was easy to come in here because it was familiar. I had been here before and I played for Tito and played with some of these guys.

"Storybook? I would say, so far, it is."

Jason Beck has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Cleveland Indians, Coco Crisp

Big Papi's greatest qualities on display in finale

MLB.com

BOSTON -- We didn't need this memory. Lord knows David Ortiz has provided plenty of others in his storied career.

This man was one of the smiling faces of that Idiot squad that shook one of the game's unshakable curses. He used five words to sum up a city's defiance in the face of terror in 2013 (and we didn't even mind that one of those words was an F-bomb). He was an October legend with a flair for the dramatic. He was an outsized presence on the stat sheet, on your TV screen and in your hopes (for Red Sox fans) or fears (everybody else).

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BOSTON -- We didn't need this memory. Lord knows David Ortiz has provided plenty of others in his storied career.

This man was one of the smiling faces of that Idiot squad that shook one of the game's unshakable curses. He used five words to sum up a city's defiance in the face of terror in 2013 (and we didn't even mind that one of those words was an F-bomb). He was an October legend with a flair for the dramatic. He was an outsized presence on the stat sheet, on your TV screen and in your hopes (for Red Sox fans) or fears (everybody else).

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So we didn't need him to make the exit so touching, especially considering Monday's result at Fenway Park, for Big Papi and the Red Sox, was so troubling -- a 4-3 loss that completed the Tribe's three-game sweep.

:: ALDS: Red Sox vs. Indians coverage ::

But he did.

We'll remember that look in Papi's eyes when what turned out to be his final plate appearance in the eighth inning was a four-pitch walk issued by Cody Allen. The way he strode so slowly to first base and how, for a moment, you thought David Ortiz might become the first Major Leaguer in history to argue with the home-plate umpire about a ball. (He would later explain he was merely trying to pump up the next batter, Hanley Ramirez, in advance of Hanley's RBI single.)

We'll remember what happened when Marco Hernandez came out to relieve him at second base, representing the tying run that never came home. Ortiz pounded on Hernandez's helmet, trying to will all his energy, all his desire into the pinch-runner.

We saw him there on the top step of the dugout, begging for a rally, for a ticket to Game 4, for his very baseball life.

Big Papi farewell | Teammates react

And then, with the crowd alternating between chants of "Papi! Papi!" and "Thank you, Papi" and "We're not leaving!" we saw him once more. After the team meeting, after his last speech to his mates, Ortiz strode out of the dugout, walked to the pitcher's mound and held his hat aloft with tears in his eyes, as the theme music from "The Natural" played for the darn-near-capacity crowd, which stuck around long after the Indians had taken their celebration to the visitor's clubhouse, and roared for him one last time.

Ortiz said he has had some emotional moments in recent weeks. Jose Fernandez's tragic death shook him. The Red Sox's ceremony in his honor on the last day of the regular season humbled him.

But the finality of standing on that mound -- an unusual place for one of the best designated hitter careers of all-time to end -- was overwhelming.

"When I walk to the mound," Ortiz said, "I realized that it was over. It was pretty much probably the last time as a player [to] walk in front of a crowd. And the emotion came back out again."

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Ortiz on farewell to teammates, fans

The Red Sox got flat-out beat in this series, and Big Papi contributed to Boston's grim result. On the heels of easily the greatest farewell season we've ever seen from an offensive player (40-year-olds don't have any business leading the Majors in OPS), it was stunning, to say the least, to see him go out with a 1-for-9 and just one RBI. You just sort of assumed Big Papi's big bat would come through in the clutch once, twice or a thousand times more. Didn't happen.

Ortiz smacked his hands in frustration when he hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth. He thought the sinking liner would get by center fielder Rajai Davis, but Davis caught it with a running grab below the knee. And the walk in the eighth went against the script, even if the strategy on Allen's part was understandable.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Francona on Papi's retirement, Farrell

But amidst these disappointments, Ortiz did manage to go down fighting, to remind us that his spirit could not be extinguished, even if his team could.

"That's him, man," a champagne-soaked Mike Napoli said in the visiting clubhouse. "I've seen that myself. I've seen it as a teammate. He wants so much to do it. He wants to be that guy. He knows he can be that guy. That's what he was trying to do, pump up his teammates and the crowd."

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Papi jokes around with Napoli on first

On the Boston side, and in the audience, there was disbelief that it was really over.

"Your mind tells you he'll be here when the game ends and he'll be here tomorrow," longtime teammate Dustin Pedroia said. "It's got to end some way. But this is definitely not how we expected it to. It's going to be tough not having him around."

In a predictably long postgame press conference, Ortiz waxed nostalgic and poetic, said he's proud of the way this team rose back to the top of the AL East this season.

But those are ultimately just words.

When Hall of Fame voters have the chance to do the right thing and put him in Cooperstown, they'll see Ortiz won three World Series and retired 10th all-time in doubles, 17th in homers and tied for eighth with Ken Griffey Jr. in extra-base hits.

But that's ultimately just trivia.

Better to remember Ortiz for the passion, presence and personality he brought to this sport -- qualities that were all on display one last time in the final moments of Big Papi's final game.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz

Indians grow into compelling postseason tale

Underrated offense, strong 'pen buoy club in sweep of Red Sox
MLB.com

BOSTON -- He was shoeless, sockless, his naked feet soaked in champagne and bad beer. But they needed Chris Antonetti outside for a television interview, so a media relations guy offered the Indians president his slippery-but-still-functional sandals for the walk through the dank hallway that leads to Fenway Park's visiting dugout.

Yes, even after the Indians had toppled the Red Sox in a three-game American League Division Series sweep on Monday night, there were signals of how they got here in the first place -- excellent acquisitions, perseverance in the face of bad breaks ... or, in this case, bare feet.

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BOSTON -- He was shoeless, sockless, his naked feet soaked in champagne and bad beer. But they needed Chris Antonetti outside for a television interview, so a media relations guy offered the Indians president his slippery-but-still-functional sandals for the walk through the dank hallway that leads to Fenway Park's visiting dugout.

Yes, even after the Indians had toppled the Red Sox in a three-game American League Division Series sweep on Monday night, there were signals of how they got here in the first place -- excellent acquisitions, perseverance in the face of bad breaks ... or, in this case, bare feet.

View Full Game Coverage

"Instead of focusing on what we didn't have or which guys weren't healthy or what challenges we encountered," Antonetti said, "our guys just focused on trying to find a way to win that night's game."

:: ALDS: Red Sox vs. Indians coverage ::

The Indians won 94 games to claim the AL's second seed, but to believe they'd win three more required either a die-hard disposition or, at the very least, an intimate understanding of October's nuances.

You'll remember, of course, the kerfuffle that arose when a local writer deemed the Tribe's hope of advancing out of the ALDS to be DBA (that's Dead Before Arrival) at the time No. 2 starter Carlos Carrasco broke a bone in his hand, and the sentiment was perhaps understandable. But focusing on what wasn't here distracted onlookers from what was.

"People can say whatever they think," Carrasco said on Monday. "The truth is here."

The truth lied in an underrated offense accustomed to platoon advantages, a deep bullpen anchored by Andrew Miller, an aggressive mentality on the basepaths, a dependable defense and, perhaps most importantly, a progressive and proactive manager in Terry Francona.

All of those attributes came in handy this past week. And when Sunday's rainout threatened to neutralize Francona's ability to be aggressive with his 'pen (read: Miller) because of the pertinent possibility of Games 3, 4 and 5 being played in successive days, the Indians got just what they needed to go for the throat.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Miller discusses his strong performance

Josh Tomlin gave them five good innings in which the once-mighty Red Sox's offense continued to be mystified by these new creations known as breaking balls and changeups. Then it was Coco Crisp delivering the dagger in the form of a monster two-run shot over the Green Monster and Miller, though perhaps not in total command of his command, pushing it along to the eighth.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Crisp crushes two-run jack over Monster

Just look at those names.

Tomlin, the fifth starter who not long ago lost his spot in the starting five because of a high home run rate but was thrust into October action by the erosion of a once-elite rotation. Crisp, the prodigal son who was dealt to these same Sox way back in '06, only to return with the Indians after an August trade with the A's to fill in for October ineligible Abraham Almonte. And of course, Miller, the key non-waiver Trade Deadline pickup -- the guy this low-budget club raided its foundation on the farm to obtain.

There were other surprising standouts in this series.

Yogi Perez ... no, wait, I'm sorry, it appears his name is actually Roberto Perez ... left a lasting impression in Game 1, with his solo homer, his tag of Brock Holt at home plate on a close play and the way he willed his 220-pound frame to aggressively tag up from first to second and set up what turned out to be the winning run. Remember: Perez had played all of five games in the Minors while on rehab assignment after fracturing his thumb when duty called, in the form of Yan Gomes separating his shoulder in July. He's come a long way.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Naquin laces two-run single to right

How about young Tyler Naquin? The rookie drove in an early pair to break the scoreless tie in the fourth on Monday night. And he was only rostered A. after Almonte was suspended for PEDs in Spring Training and again when B. Marlon Byrd received a PED suspension of his own.

Lonnie Chisenhall hit the huge homer in Game 2. And he did it off a lefty. And he did it off one of the best lefties in the game, David Price. It was the kind of unexpected mash that makes a manager look brilliant, but credit to Chisenhall for a very solid offensive season when he had become all-too-easy to write off and for coming through in the clutch in a handedness matchup that once was his enemy.

One of the great defensive plays of this series came in the fifth inning of Game 3, when Jose Ramirez made a spinning backhand grab of a hard Mookie Betts grounder to get a 5-4 fielder's choice in a huge spot. They showed the replay on the giant videoboard, and Ramirez watched it and nodded in approval.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Ramirez nabs sharp grounder, gets force

People ask how the Indians survived this season without star outfielder Michael Brantley. The answer is Jose Ramirez.

In the last 12 months, other front offices might have fared as well as Antonetti, Mike Chernoff, Derek Falvey and Co. at rounding out their ballclubs, but none were better. The Indians signed Mike Napoli to a one-year deal, and he came through with a career year. They signed Rajai Davis to a one-year deal, and he proved he still has a lot of life in those 35-year-old legs. Anybody notice non-roster invitee Dan Otero threw up a 1.53 ERA? Anyone notice Brandon Guyer turned in a .907 OPS after coming aboard on Deadline day, and then had a three-hit day in Game 2?

Heck, even the light-hitting and ultimately DFA'd Juan Uribe was worth the $3 million just for that line about his cup size.

Tweet from @MLBastian: Juan Uribe (testicular contusion) said no BP today. Asked why he doesn't use a cup, he said: "I don't think the trainers have my size." Oh.

One last and very important point that must be made: Indians ownership gets crushed annually for the club's inability to play in free agency's deep waters. But even in a year in which this club ranked 28th in attendance, Paul Dolan ponied up to take on the Miller contract and the Crisp contract (roughly $5 million in all) at a time when budgets are less-than-fungible. The Indians didn't sweat the small stuff, either. Witness Napoli maxing out his bonuses with his final plate appearance of the regular season.

Video: Lindor discusses victory over Red Sox in ALDS

"It's not a popularity contest," Dolan said. "We're doing what we can to win with the resources that we have. This is looking like the kind of year where it's happening."

What's happening next is an AL Championship Series date with Mark Shapiro's Blue Jays beginning on Friday at 8 p.m. ET on TBS. The Indians facing their former architect is a pretty good story. But merely getting to this point is a great story all its own.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Cleveland Indians

Red Sox congratulate Tribe: 'They played great'

Players discuss respect for Indians' rotation, bats and focus after ALDS loss
MLB.com

BOSTON -- He worked a walk and took a moment to gather himself in the batter's box before slowly jogging to first base. He pounded his chest and waved his outstretched arms up and down, physically entreating the crowd to get loud. No one wanted to win more than David Ortiz.

Once he had time to process the Red Sox's season-ending 4-3 loss to the Indians in Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on Monday, Big Papi had nothing but respect for his opposition.

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BOSTON -- He worked a walk and took a moment to gather himself in the batter's box before slowly jogging to first base. He pounded his chest and waved his outstretched arms up and down, physically entreating the crowd to get loud. No one wanted to win more than David Ortiz.

Once he had time to process the Red Sox's season-ending 4-3 loss to the Indians in Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on Monday, Big Papi had nothing but respect for his opposition.

View Full Game Coverage

:: ALDS: Red Sox vs. Indians coverage ::

"Definitely I had to congratulate Tito and the Cleveland Indians, they played unbelievable baseball," Ortiz said. "And that's what happened. That's what the game is all about. Short series, whoever played the best is going to dominate."

At the peak of their 11-game winning streak in September, the Red Sox were equipped with a team that was poised to reach the World Series. No one expected them to bend, let alone break.

Now, even though it's painful, the Red Sox put everything aside and tipped their caps to the Indians.

"What they did to us, we expected to do to them, because we feel like we have a better ballclub," Ortiz said. "But when it comes down to the playoffs and short series, it's not about who is the best, it's who played the best. And obviously they did."

Video: Must C Clinch: Indians sweep Sox to advance to ALCS

The Indians put the second-guessers aside, coming in hot against a team that hardly went cold. Many Red Sox players acknowledged Cleveland's exceptional pitching staff, albeit one that was bit by the injury bug in losing Danny Salazar to a sore elbow and Carlos Carrasco to a fractured hand.

In his first career postseason appearance, Josh Tomlin limited the relentless Red Sox offense to four hits -- the fewest by a visiting pitcher at Fenway Park in a potential clinching game since Game 5 of the 2008 AL Championship Series.

"We just couldn't find our rhythm," Dustin Pedroia said. "We couldn't string consecutive hits or at-bats or anything. And to be honest with you, it's more a credit to them. I mean, they were on the corners with good stuff. I mean, they pitched good. They played great. Sometimes, as frustrating as it is, you have to tip your cap. That's why they're moving on."

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Farrell on elimination from the playoffs

Clay Buchholz made perhaps the biggest comeback for the Red Sox this season. After digging himself into a hole that lasted into July and spending ample time in the bullpen, Buchholz understands how important it is to fight.

"Everybody in baseball knows how hard it is to sweep a three-game series within the season," Buchholz said. "To do it in the postseason, that's something else. They played better ball than us, they got the hits when they needed to get the hits, that's part of it. Gotta regroup, get your mind right, go into the offseason with the right frame of mind and put the work in to get better."

Indians manager Terry Francona said it was difficult to beat the Red Sox on their own turf, against a deafening crowd of 39,530 -- Fenway Park's largest attendance since 1945.

"That's hard to do. I'm glad we opened in Cleveland. It let us get our legs under us," Francona said. "We took care of business tonight. We went to our bullpen. I'm glad we won. Coming back tomorrow, it would've been hard. So, I'll let these guys enjoy it. They deserve it, and we'll kind of get everybody together tomorrow and start moving forward."

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston.

Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia

Tribe honored to be part of Ortiz's last game

Former teammates Miller, Crisp discuss Big Papi after ALDS sweep
MLB.com

BOSTON -- Indians manager Terry Francona could have relished the moment, a three-game American League Division Series sweep of his old team, capped by Monday's 4-3 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. After all, he was Boston's manager for some of David Ortiz's greatest moments. His club ended Ortiz's career.

And yet, the first words from Francona at his postgame press conference were words of praise.

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BOSTON -- Indians manager Terry Francona could have relished the moment, a three-game American League Division Series sweep of his old team, capped by Monday's 4-3 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. After all, he was Boston's manager for some of David Ortiz's greatest moments. His club ended Ortiz's career.

And yet, the first words from Francona at his postgame press conference were words of praise.

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"That's quite a team we were fortunate enough to beat," Francona said. "And also to David, that was an honor to be on the field for his last game. I think you can see by the way the fans reacted, their outpouring of affection for him, that was an honor."

:: ALDS: Red Sox vs. Indians coverage ::

The reaction from his players, some of whom were former Red Sox themselves, was similar.

"The Red Sox, these guys are an amazing ballclub, some of the best hitters in the game, and their pitching staff is fantastic," said Coco Crisp, who played in Boston from 2006-08 and hit a two-run homer on Monday. "And we were able to win this. Our thing is to just go out there, be ourselves, continue to have fun, put our best out there -- as long as you leave it all out there and are having fun -- you can go home knowing that you left your best out there."

Andrew Miller was a part of the last Red Sox World Series team in 2013, though he didn't pitch in the postseason that year after undergoing surgery on his left foot midseason. He still draws from experience on that team, he said, even as he went about shutting down the 2016 club for four innings over two appearances.

"The offense that we faced, this team is so great," Miller said. "But particularly from the perspective of a relief pitcher, this offense is just unbelievable. To find a way, it doesn't have to be pretty, and it wasn't tonight. …

"I was here with the Red Sox, and I think probably the most underappreciated storyline from that 2013 team is how good the bullpen was. And I think I can draw from that experience. And I think people are starting to appreciate that more and more."

Cleveland's bullpen was the difference in the series, capped by halting Red Sox rallies in the eighth and ninth innings on Monday night. And as Cody Allen ended it with a Travis Shaw popout, the juxtaposed scenes of an Indians celebration at short and the crowd chanting for Ortiz around the Red Sox made for a memorable scene.

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Allen seals win, Tribe advances to ALCS

All series long, Francona joked about his time with Ortiz, saying he'd glady donate to his foundation if he did nothing to beat him. He couldn't have figured he'd get through a best-of-five series in three games without being hurt by the slugger.

"I'm glad he didn't get a hit to beat us," Francona said, "but I thought it was an honor to be on the field competing against him in his last game. He's truly one of the best. You can tell the way the people were hanging around, yelling his name and everything. He deserves every bit of that."

Even some Indians players, who were savoring their first postseason series win since 2007, couldn't help but get drawn in.

Video: Must C Classic: Fenway Faithful say goodbye to Papi

"Everything he's done, not just on the baseball field, but off the field for this city, the respect they show him, the love, is very warranted," Crisp said. "I was out there giving a few more interviews and I was able to see him come out and get on the mound and raise his hat up. He was tearing up, and I'll be dagnabbed if I wasn't tearing up, too.

"It's going to be weird not seeing him over there playing and doing what he does. It was a sad moment for me to see him walk off that field and know that this was his last hurrah, but he went out with a bang. He put up one of the best retiring seasons in history, and I'm happy for him that he went out on top of his game. I love that guy."

Jason Beck has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Cleveland Indians, David Ortiz

Bullpen at its best for Indians in ALDS

Allen, Miller and Shaw a major reason for sweep of Red Sox
MLB.com

BOSTON -- The pitches piled up for Cody Allen -- five 3-0 or 3-1 counts in eight batters, full counts to the final four, all of them waiting for a pitch to send into the Boston night, add a chapter to the Red Sox's October heroics and carry the American League Division Series at least one more day.

All the while, the Indians' bullpen was still.

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BOSTON -- The pitches piled up for Cody Allen -- five 3-0 or 3-1 counts in eight batters, full counts to the final four, all of them waiting for a pitch to send into the Boston night, add a chapter to the Red Sox's October heroics and carry the American League Division Series at least one more day.

All the while, the Indians' bullpen was still.

View Full Game Coverage

:: ALDS: Red Sox vs. Indians coverage ::

"He was going to finish," manager Terry Francona said, "one way or another."

Even Allen admitted, as the count went full once more on Travis Shaw with the tying run on second base, that he wasn't sure which way it would go.

"It was one of those spots where I was pretty freaking nervous," Allen said. "But you know what, I was trying to make one pitch at a time. I didn't make some great pitches tonight. I fell behind guys. I got in a spot where I could've gotten beat. But you know what, we came out with a win.

"[Shaw] popped it up. He could've easily put the barrel on that ball and it could've been a tie game, but it worked out in our favor."

And as Shaw's fly ball landed in right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall's glove, sealing a 4-3 win and a Cleveland sweep, it also completed an impressive bullpen performance for a team that needed it to have a chance. The Tribe took three straight to advance to the AL Championship Series against the Blue Jays, but with the Indians down to three healthy starters, the margin of difference had a lot to do with the relief corps.

Cleveland's bullpen combined for 10 1/3 innings of two-run ball with four walks and 14 strikeouts for the series. Allen, Andrew Miller and Bryan Shaw combined for all but one of those innings.

"It's impressive, because we got it done," Miller said. "This offense that we faced, this team, is so great, but particularly from the perspective of a relief pitcher, this offense is just unbelievable. To find a way, it doesn't have to be pretty, and it wasn't tonight."

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Miller fans three over two scoreless

The last AL team to roll into Fenway Park for a playoff series can attest to that; the Tigers are still haunted by comeback homers in the 2013 ALCS. Miller was part of the Red Sox's bullpen then -- although he was injured and didn't pitch in the postseason -- and still draws from seeing the difference Boston's bullpen made in that series. Monday's game felt like a dramatic hit waiting to happen from the moment Miller replaced starter Josh Tomlin with a runner on and nobody out in the sixth inning.

Tomlin had pitched effectively, but Francona, who led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and '07, had seen too many dramatic scenes in this place to push it.

"I thought we were to the point in the game where, if everything played out, we could cover it," Francona said. "It doesn't guarantee anything, and they certainly made us work for it. But there's a reason we went and got Andrew Miller."

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Francona on Papi's retirement, Farrell

Miller threw two scoreless innings for the second time this series. He had to retire David Ortiz with two runners on to do it. Ortiz, 1-for-8 against Miller, centered a 2-1 pitch and scorched a line drive, but Rajai Davis ran it down to limit the damage to a sacrifice fly.

By the time the top of the Boston order came around again, Miller had thrown 35 pitches. In came Shaw, who caught the corner for strike three on Dustin Pedroia before Travis Shaw's single brought the potential tying run back to the plate.

Third baseman Jose Ramirez's stop down the line on Mookie Betts denied a double on a ball hit at 112.5 mph according to Statcast™. The batting average on balls like that this season was .521 (25-for-48).

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Ramirez nabs sharp grounder, gets force

"We're producers, not directors," Betts said.

That made Allen's job easier as he entered for the four-out save. But back came Ortiz.

"So many times, you think the script is written, and he's just waiting to play his part," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

Allen was not. He wasn't going to challenge Ortiz over the plate, and Ortiz wasn't going to chase. Ortiz took the four-pitch walk, and Hanley Ramirez took a 2-0 count before lacing a line-drive single to left to score a run and pull the Red Sox to within one.

With the tying run at second, Allen had to face Xander Bogaerts, who struck out against him with the tying run on third in the eighth inning of Game 1. With a 1-2 count, Allen had him set up again, and went to his curveball to try to finish him off. But Bogaerts pounded a line drive toward the middle -- right where second baseman Jason Kipnis was positioned.

"If it was somewhere else, it's a base hit and would have been a different situation," Bogaerts said. "I would definitely trade any hits I got this year for that one to go through."

Allen retired the first two batters of the ninth, but still had to battle. One out away, he went 3-0 on Jackie Bradley Jr., who sent a full-count pitch down the right-field line for his first hit of the series. A walk to Pedroia brought up Shaw as Allen's pitch count climbed.

Shaw's fly ball came on Allen's 40th pitch of the night. Asked what carries him through moments like that, whether adrenaline or focus, he shrugged it off.

"We've had a few days with the rainout and the off-day, so it was fine," Allen said. "And it's October. If you're going to blow it out at any point in the season, you might as well blow it out now."

Jason Beck has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Cleveland Indians

Tom-lin, Tom-lin too much for Red Sox

Indians starter holds Boston in check before bullpen takes over
MLB.com

BOSTON -- Josh Tomlin could not believe what he was hearing. The famous fans who pack Fenway Park, the ones who have taunted and tormented so many opponents in Octobers past, were on their feet and mockingly chanting the name of the Indians pitcher on Monday night.

Tomlin was more amused than anything.

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BOSTON -- Josh Tomlin could not believe what he was hearing. The famous fans who pack Fenway Park, the ones who have taunted and tormented so many opponents in Octobers past, were on their feet and mockingly chanting the name of the Indians pitcher on Monday night.

Tomlin was more amused than anything.

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"I was surprised there were that many people that knew my name, to be honest with you," Tomlin said with a laugh.

:: ALDS: Red Sox vs. Indians coverage ::

Standing in the back of the Fenway Park visitors' clubhouse, a smile on his face, Tomlin was able to joke about the moment after the Indians' 4-3 win over the Red Sox. That was because the victory in Game 3 of the American League Division Series finished off a series sweep of Boston, set off a rowdy party and punched the Tribe's ticket to the AL Championship Series against the Blue Jays.

Tomlin played a key role in the win, turning in five strong innings to put manager Terry Francona in position to leverage his bullpen in the same way he did in Game 1. The outing by the right-hander also fueled optimism that maybe -- just maybe -- Cleveland's rotation can withstand the losses of Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco and actually win this thing.

Thanks in part to Tomlin's effort, Cleveland can now set up its rotation how it sees fit for the ALCS, which begins Friday at Progressive Field (8 p.m. ET, TBS, SNET, RSD). The Indians did not announce anything after Monday's win, but ace Corey Kluber would presumably be the Game 1 starter against Toronto.

"Tito will do what he wants," Kluber said. "But, I think we showed this series, no matter what people think, we have all the confidence in each other to go out there and do the job. I think that's only going to continue going forward."

Video: CLE@BOS Gm3: Francona on Tomlin, going to bullpen

What the Indians will need to work through in the upcoming days is how the rotation will look after Kluber. Trevor Bauer would be the likely starter for Game 2 on Saturday, and Tomlin would probably fall in line as the Game 3 starter for Oct. 17 in Toronto. Right now, though, Cleveland lacks a fourth starter. Rookie righty Mike Clevinger filled that role in the season's final month, but he is currently in the bullpen.

If the Indians went with three starters again, the team would be asking each of them to work on short rest, if the best-of-seven series went the distance.

"We haven't even talked about it," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "That's the good part, is those two guys [Kluber and Bauer] didn't have to pitch again, so we can line it up however we want."

The trio of Kluber, Bauer and Tomlin combined for a 2.70 ERA in the three-game sweep of Boston. Over 16 2/3 combined innings, they struck out 17, walked four and allowed five earned runs. In Games 1 and 3, Cleveland leaned on relievers Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen after a short, effective outing from its starter.

"That's what we wanted to do," Callaway said. "Going in, we had those guys all fresh and available, and that was the game plan in Game 1 and in this game. We were excited it worked out that way. Josh Tomlin was unbelievable. He made pitch after pitch to the corners and did what he had to do and got ahead."

And Tomlin did not get intimidated.

In the fifth inning, following an RBI double by Andrew Benintendi, Cleveland was clinging to a 2-1 lead. As Tomlin prepared to face Boston catcher Sandy Leon with one out and a runner on second, the Fenway Park crowd let the pitcher have it. It began softly within the stadium's usual buzzing, but quickly developed into a raucous chant.

"TOM-LIN! TOM-LIN!"

Allen, the Indians' closer, was reminded of the 2013 National League Wild Card Game, when Johnny Cueto received the same treatment from Pirates fans.

"I remember watching the game on TV when they were in Pittsburgh," Allen said. "They were chanting, 'Cueto.' Josh did an unreal job, man, and made some big pitches in some big spots against an extremely talented lineup."

Tomlin took a moment to gather himself behind the mound.

"It was hard for me to hear anything for the first couple innings," Tomlin said. "Once they started chanting my name, it kind of became real. I knew where I was at. After that, it was kind of settle in, try to check your emotions a little bit and understand what's at stake."

Tomlin struck out Leon and induced an inning-ending groundout to Jackie Bradley Jr., turning the chants into a collective groan.

When Tomlin left the game in the sixth, Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations, ran into the pitcher in the clubhouse.

"What was that like?" Antonetti asked.

"That was the coolest moment of my life," Tomlin said.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Cleveland Indians, Josh Tomlin

Indians ride Kluber, 4-run frame for 2-0 ALDS lead

MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Any October nerves that may have existed for this upstart Indians squad appear to have calmed and disappeared. With ace Corey Kluber on the hill, and a series lead in hand, Cleveland settled in and pieced together a workmanlike win over the Red Sox on Friday night at a raucous Progressive Field.

With their 6-0 victory in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, the Indians put the pressure on the Red Sox, as this best-of-five heads to Fenway Park with the Tribe up two games to none. Kluber performed like a former Cy Young Award winner, while David Price's old postseason woes persisted.

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CLEVELAND -- Any October nerves that may have existed for this upstart Indians squad appear to have calmed and disappeared. With ace Corey Kluber on the hill, and a series lead in hand, Cleveland settled in and pieced together a workmanlike win over the Red Sox on Friday night at a raucous Progressive Field.

With their 6-0 victory in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, the Indians put the pressure on the Red Sox, as this best-of-five heads to Fenway Park with the Tribe up two games to none. Kluber performed like a former Cy Young Award winner, while David Price's old postseason woes persisted.

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"It looks like it's just one more game for us," Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis said. "Guys look calm. They looked relaxed. Some of these guys who are younger and less experienced than I am are handling it way better than I handled my Wild Card Game [in 2013]. It's impressive.

:: ALDS: Red Sox vs. Indians coverage ::

"The team kind of feeds off each other. It's a fun group to be around. When it's that fun to be in our dugout, you almost forget how much pressure there is sometimes."

On a day when he would not normally be part of the starting lineup, Lonnie Chisenhall played the role of unexpected hero, launching a three-run homer off Price in the second that gave Kluber all the support he would require. That blast damaged the line of Price, who walked off the field to cheers from the Cleveland crowd after the shortest start ( 3 1/3 innings) of his playoff career.

For all his summer success, Price's postseason record dropped to 0-8 in nine career starts.

"Obviously the big blow was Chisenhall with the three-run homer," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "In a fastball count, or in a hitter count, he's trying to sink a ball down and in to keep him from getting extended. Doesn't get to the spot. Hits the ball for a three-run homer. After that, some inconsistent command. I felt like we needed to go to the 'pen shortly thereafter."

Heading to Boston with a 2-0 lead in the ALDS may feel familiar to Indians fans of a certain age. It was the same scenario in 1999, when the Red Sox then broke Cleveland's heart with three straight wins. In ALDS history, teams with a 2-0 leads have won 23 of 28 series. The overall showing for clubs with a 2-0 edge is 46-7, so that '99 collapse for the Indians was an outlier.

"Obviously, they played better than us," Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "I think, coming into this series, we had a lot of guys the last couple of games feeling it out, everybody, me included. I think we lost who we are -- we're the Boston Red Sox. We need to go out there and play the game. We should dictate the tempo of the game and how everything should be played."

Despite what has happened over the past two days -- star pitchers Rick Porcello and Price allowing 10 runs combined in 7 2/3 innings, chief among the issues -- the Red Sox still boast baseball's highest-scoring offense. Boston also has an intimidating home environment at Fenway, which will surely be quaking when the team returns for Monday's Game 3 at 6 p.m. ET on TBS.

Video: BOS@CLE Gm2: Farrell discusses Price's tough start

"We did what we were supposed to do," Kipnis said. "We handled our business at home the first two games. But, you don't advance by winning two games in this series. You advance by winning three. There's a big third one that we need to get."

Prior to Chisenhall's shot down the right-field line, Brandon Guyer -- one of the Tribe's under-the-radar trade acquisitions in July -- delivered a run-scoring single. Before the night was done, Kipnis tacked on an RBI single and Rajai Davis contributed a sacrifice fly.

Tribe strikes 1st with 4-run 2nd against Price

In his return from a mild quadriceps injury, which forced him to leave his final regular-season start early and necessitated 10 days' rest, Kluber spun seven shutout innings against Boston's potent lineup. The right-hander painted the outside edge with his signature sinker, piled up seven strikeouts, scattered three hits and saved the bullpen a day after the group was pushed to the limits.

Video: BOS@CLE Gm2: Kluber stifles Red Sox in Game 2

"We talked before the game about, 'Would he be a little bit rusty or would he be really good?'" Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I think he answered that question."

Kluber gave Indians what they needed -- innings

"It's always fun playing behind Corey," Chisenhall said. "There's usually not too much going on. He's our workhorse. He was great today, maybe a little bit of rust, but everybody saw what he did."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Lonnie vs. the lefty: Chisenhall was a surprising addition to the lineup, considering he typically only starts against right-handed pitching. Francona wanted the best defensive alignment possible and also cited the outfielder's career showing (.364 average in 11 at-bats) against Price. The move paid off in the second, when Chisenhall ripped a 2-1 pitch over the right-field wall on a line for his first home run off a left-handed pitcher this season.

Video: BOS@CLE Gm2: Chisenhall on three-run homer, Kluber

"He does a great job of putting us in the best situations possible," Chisenhall said of Francona. "I've benefited from it tonight and in the past. I think I have a handful of at-bats against Price in the past, but tonight, he wanted the defense out there, so anything I contributed was going to be positive."

Chisenhall's homer part of Tito's magic touch

Price's latest October mishap: Price badly wanted to reverse the narrative about the lack of success he's had in the postseason. Instead, he reached a low point by pitching fewer than six innings for the first time in nine career playoff starts. A day after Porcello lasted just 13 outs, Farrell had to pull Price after 10 outs. Price's ERA as a starter in the postseason is 5.74.

Price labors, stays winless in playoff starts

"We were fortunate right there," Chisenhall said. "He's throwing 200-plus innings a year, and to get him out that early, it was a good thing to see. You want to wear down the bullpen, and you definitely don't want to have Price on the mound for too long. So it was a perfect night."

Price doesn't change the narrative

Nap to Kip to Kluber With one out in the sixth inning, Kipnis pulled off a play that that was jaw-dropping for first baseman Mike Napoli. Brock Holt hit a sharp grounder to the right side, where it kicked off the heel of Napoli's glove. The first baseman spun around, searching for the ball, which Kipnis snared with a barehanded grab to Napoli's right. The second baseman fired it to Kluber, who gloved it and stepped on first for a highlight-reel out. The crowd roared in approval as Napoli stood in disbelief.

Video: BOS@CLE Gm2: Kipnis makes heads-up play to nab Holt

"On ground balls his way, I start heading that way anyways for pretty much that reason alone," Kipnis said. "In case of deflection, you want to be in the right position. Everything worked out our way on that play. I got a big thanks from him and a promise of wine at my locker. So, that's the most rewarding play I've made in a while."

Holt, Pedroia misplays lead to runs: In the fourth, at a time the Red Sox were trying to keep the deficit within striking distance, Holt, Boston's third baseman, made a costly error. Davis stung a grounder to third, and Holt bobbled it right next to the bag. Holt was able to step on third for the force, but if he had fielded it cleanly, it would have potentially been an inning-ending double play. Instead, Kipnis followed with an RBI single to make it 5-0. Two innings later, Pedroia admits he was too quick in trying to field a double-play grounder and had it go through his legs. Instead of the inning being over, the Indians went on to score another run on a sacrifice fly. It was just the second error for Pedroia in 46 career games in the postseason.

Video: BOS@CLE Gm2: Perez reaches on an error by Pedroia

"Yeah I mean, shoot, the ball I missed tonight, he kind of hit it off the end and I charged it just, I should have sat back and got one out," Pedroia said. "But you're trying to get a double play and make things happen and I missed the ball. Those are physical mistakes. It happens. It's part of the game."

QUOTABLES
"He's been pushing the right buttons. Not just with the lineup, but with the bullpen the first day. I think you're seeing an experienced veteran manager who not only knows what he's doing, but he knows his team. He knows when he can push a little bit. He knows when he needs to pull back. So far, he's pushing all the right buttons." -- Kipnis, on Francona

"The nice part is we've got a little cushion, where we've just got to win one of the next three. But, I think everyone in this locker room doesn't want this getting past Game 3. We're going to go out and try to end this as soon as we can." -- Kipnis, on trying to finish off the Red Sox

"It's our home field, we're looking forward to getting back there. Obviously our back is against the wall. There's zero room for error. You have to play hard. You find out a lot about yourself and your team when you're in situations like this. I don't think anyone is ready to go home, that's for sure. We'll get to our workout tomorrow and come out and play as hard as we can." -- Pedroia

Pedroia: Sox have to time to regain identity

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Kluber became the ninth pitcher in Indians postseason history to log at least seven shutout innings in a start. He joined Gene Bearden (Game 3 of the 1948 World Series) as the only pitchers in Cleveland history to do so in a playoff debut. Kluber's seven strikeouts were the most by an Indians pitcher in a postseason start.

UNDER REVIEW
On a day that not much went right for the Red Sox, Farrell at least got a replay overturned in the bottom of the fifth. Jose Ramirez was initially given credit for a steal of second, but the replay showed Pedroia slapping the tag down in time.

Video: BOS@CLE Gm2: Leon nabs Ramirez after overturned call

WHAT'S NEXT
Red Sox: Righty Clay Buchholz, Boston's longest-tenured pitcher, gets the ball for Game 3 on Monday at 6 p.m. ET on TBS. The Red Sox went 6-2 at Fenway in their most recent postseason run -- back in 2013. Interestingly, Buchholz has never earned a decision in five postseason starts, posting a 4.21 ERA over 25 2/3 innings. Buchholz finished the regular season at his best, going 4-0 with a 2.63 ERA in his last seven starts.

Indians: Right-hander Josh Tomlin, who is the longest-tenured player in the organization, will start Game 3 at Fenway Park. Tomlin ended his season on a roll, posting a 1.69 ERA over the final month to overcome the August issues that temporarily cost him a spot in the rotation. Tomlin's 5.9 strikeout-to-walk ratio this year ranked second in the AL only to Boston's Rick Porcello.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.