The first full day of MLB playoff action ended with both AL division series being one game away from ending: The Toronto Blue Jays took a 2-0 lead on the road over the Texas Rangers, while Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians shutout the Boston Red Sox, also up by two games. It was game 1 in both NL division series, as Jon Lester and Johnny Cueto put on one heck of a show, but a Javier Baez home run set up the Chicago Cubs win. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers relied on their bullpen to keep an early lead going against the Washington Nationals.
Toronto Blue Jays 5 Texas Rangers 3 (Blue Jays lead 2-0): The Rangers fail again to figure out how to avoid the big hitting Blue Jays. It wasn’t as humiliating as in the first game, but the bottom line: They’re down 0-2 after playing two games at home. Yu Darvish gave up four home runs: Troy Tulowitzki with a two-run homer in the 2nd, and three in the fifth: Kevin Pillar, Edwin Encarnacion and Ezequiel Carrera, all solo shots. J.A. Happ gave up nine hits in five innings while striking out 5, meaning that the Blue Jays turned to their bullpen this time, with Francisco Liriano giving up two runs and injured in the neck by a line drive. But despite the tense moments, the Blue Jays made it through, carrying a huge lead with them back home.
Boston Red Sox 0 Cleveland Indians 6 (Indians lead 2-0): David Price was horrendous, not making it out of the fourth inning, in contrast to a terrific Corey Kluber, allowing only 3 hits while striking out 7 through 7 innings, before Dan Otero and Brian Shaw closed shop. The Indians scored five runs off of Price, including a three-run homer by Lonnie Chisenhall, while the fearsome Red Sox lineup managed to get only 3 hits through the entire game, including both Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz going 0-for-4. Ortiz saw only 9 pitches the entire game.
Los Angeles Dodgers 4 Washington Nationals 3 (Dodgers lead 1-0): The pitcher’s duel between Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer didn’t result in flawless mound performances, but Kershaw got the win thanks to his bullpen, especially Kenley Jansen with 3 k’s in 1.2 innings to pick up the save. The Dodgers took a quick 4-0 lead thanks to home runs by Justin Turner and Corey Seager. The Nationals came back in the third when Anthony Rendon drove in two, while Trea Turner added another run in the 4th, but after Kershaw was benched, the Nationals mustered only one hit in the final 4 innings, never coming close to tying the game.
San Francisco Giants 0 Chicago Cubs 1 (Cubs lead 1-0): If anyone remembers the last regular season series between the two teams, this is pretty much it: Everything decided by one run, with the Cubs usually looking a bit better. Johnny Cueto was fantastic, striking out 10. not walking anyone and allowing only 3 hits in 8 innings. But he gave up a 8th inning home run to Javier Baez, which turned out to be enough. Jon Lester held the Giants scoreless through 8 innings, setting up the stage for Aroldis Chapman, picking up an easy save.