Before the Cleveland Indians could even consider giving the ball to Andrew Miller, their bullpen faced a daunting task in the very first inning.
After Trevor Bauer's bloody exit , these remarkable relievers had to stitch together almost an entire game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Four outs apiece for Dan Otero and Jeff Manship. Three for Zach McAllister. Five each for winner Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen.
After all that, Cleveland finally turned to Miller, who was overpowering again in closing out a 4-2 victory that moved the Indians within one win of their first pennant since 1997.
Jason Kipnis and Mike Napoli homered for the Indians, unbeaten in six playoff games this year. They can complete their second consecutive series sweep on Tuesday.
In the bullpen's most impressive feat yet this October, six relievers combined for 25 outs and 128 pitches while limiting Toronto to two runs and seven hits. Miller got four outs for the save.
The hard-hitting Blue Jays have mustered only three runs in the series and have never led.
Michael Saunders homered early for Toronto. Ezequiel Carrera tripled leading off the fifth and scored on Ryan Goins' grounder to tie it 2-all.
Marcus Stroman took the loss after allowing four runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Indians Ace Corey Kluber has never started on three days' rest in his major league career, but Francona said before Monday's game that was the plan for Game 4 if Bauer had problems with his finger. Toronto will start AL ERA leader Aaron Sanchez, who allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings against Texas in Game 3 of the ALDS.