The Cleveland Indians haven’t won the World Series since 1948, while the Boston Red Sox boast three championships since 2004.

Baseball fans would have never guessed it during their American League Division Series.

Cleveland finished its three-game sweep with a 4-3 victory at Fenway Park on Monday. Starting pitcher Josh Tomlin allowed just two earned runs with four strikeouts in five quality innings, and the bullpen combination of Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen closed the door.

Tyler Naquin’s two-run single in the fourth inning and Coco Crisp’s two-run homer in the sixth provided enough run support for the Indians bullpen, which allowed just one run in four innings.

ESPN Stats & Info noted it wasn’t the first time Cleveland handled Boston in October:

The Red Sox put two runners on in the ninth but couldn’t come through, as Travis Shaw flied out to end the game. David Ortiz had a sacrifice fly and two walks in the final game of his career, while Hanley Ramirez and Andrew Benintendi each added an RBI.

Boston starting pitcher Clay Buchholz lasted just four innings, allowing two earned runs, and Drew Pomeranz gave up the long ball to Crisp.

While it wasn’t the ending he wanted, Ortiz leaves the game with a remarkable resume:

Things started ominously for the Red Sox when Carlos Santana hit a towering pop-up down the third base line to lead off the game. The wind blew the ball into fair territory, and shortstop Xander Bogaerts couldn’t make the play. Buchholz, however, prevented any damage by retiring Mike Napoli and Jose Ramirez after Francisco Lindor singled with one out.

Boston put a runner in scoring position in the second, and Cleveland did the same in the third, but the two starters escaped trouble.

Nick Friar of questioned the Red Sox’s offensive strategy against Tomlin:

The Indians broke through in the fourth. After Ramirez singled and Lonnie Chisenhall walked, Naquin drove them in with a single following Crisp’s sacrifice bunt. Cleveland may have scored more than two runs if Dustin Pedroia hadn’t made a diving stop on Roberto Perez’s hard-hit, one-out grounder.

ESPN Stats & Info noted Naquin was an unlikely run-producer given his recent struggles:

Boston manager John Farrell gave the ball to Pomeranz to start the fifth. He retired the Indians 1-2-3, and the Red Sox got on the board in the bottom of the frame.

After Bogaerts singled with one out, he scored when Benintendi drilled a double off the Green Monster. But Tomlin limited the damage to just one run by striking out Sandy Leon and inducing a groundout from Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jordan Bastian of praised the right-hander’s performance:

Pomeranz opened the sixth by walking Ramirez, and Crisp launched his two-run homer two batters later. Grant Brisbee of the McCovey Chronicles pointed out a dichotomy between the teams’ rosters:

After Pedroia singled to start the bottom of the sixth, Cleveland manager Terry Francona turned to Miller and his 1.45 ERA and 0.69 WHIP. The southpaw wasn’t his normal dominant self right away, as he allowed a double to Mookie Betts and sacrifice fly to Ortiz.

But Miller struck out Ramirez with Betts on second base to preserve the Indians’ 4-2 lead.

Joe Kelly pitched a 1-2-3 seventh for Boston, but Miller countered with a scoreless bottom half. Daren Willman of illustrated how Miller kept the Red Sox lineup at bay and carried his team to within two innings of a sweep:

Koji Uehara did his part for Boston in the eighth thanks largely to a terrific over-the-shoulder catch by Betts and an impressive barehanded play by Bogaerts, and the Red Sox cut into the lead in the bottom of the frame.

Shaw entered and retired Pedroia and Betts but also allowed a one-out single to Shaw. Allen then came on and walked Ortiz on four pitches and gave up an RBI single to Ramirez. He held on to the lead, though, by retiring Bogaerts on a sharply hit line drive to second.

Bastian noted how close Boston came to tying the game:

In the bottom of the ninth, Allen surrendered a two-out single to Bradley and a walk to Pedroia before getting Shaw to end the game.

After the game, the Fenway Park crowd chanted “Papi! Papi!” and “Thank you, Papi!”


What’s Next?

The Indians will face the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series, which starts Friday in Cleveland.

The Blue Jays are a perfect 4-0 in the postseason with an 11-inning Wild Card Game win over the Baltimore Orioles and a sweep of the Texas Rangers in their ALDS under their belt. The Indians were 4-3 against Toronto in the regular season, including a 19-inning victory at the Rogers Centre on July 1.

Cleveland will have to deal with a loaded lineup that finished fourth in the majors in home runs and features Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. If the Indians are going to reach their first World Series since 1997, they’ll need to limit the Blue Jays’ powerful bats—just like they did to the Red Sox.


Postgame Reaction

Betts noted that many of Boston’s outs were hard-hit, per Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal: “We’re producers, not directors.”

Ortiz saluted the crowd:

Sean McAdam of said Ortiz was in tears, and the slugger addressed the moment, per MacPherson: “I’ve been trying to hold my emotions the best I can. That last second, I couldn’t hold it no more.”

Lindor described the journey as far from over, per Nick Camino of WTAM 1100 in Cleveland: “We’ve got a long way to go still. We’ve got a long way to go.”

Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis provided a glimpse into Cleveland’s mindset, per Camino: “We think it’s our turn.”

It certainly was Monday.

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