On Merritt: Indians head to World Series, top Jays in ALCS

The Indians will open the World Series at home next Tuesday night against either the Chicago Cubs or Los Angeles Dodgers

TORONTO (AP) – Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp homered and rookie Ryan Merritt delivered shut down pitching as Cleveland beat Toronto 3-0 to win the ALCS in five games.

The Indians are heading to the World Series for the first time since 1997 and will host the two games. Cleveland last won a World Series in 1948.

Mike Napoli’s double off of Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada putting Cleveland on top in the first inning. Estrada also gave up the two home runs.

Merritt gave up just two hits in and struck out three in 4 1/3 innings. The 24-year-old left hander made his major league debut in May and had worked just 11 innings heading into the start.

Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen completed the six-hit shutout.

After giving up a leadoff double in the ninth to Jose Bautista, Allen struck out Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion and got Troy Tulowitzki to foul out to set off Cleveland’s celebration.

The Chicago Cubs find themselves down two-games-to-one against the Dodgers with Game 4 set for this evening in Los Angeles. The Dodgers have come alive with back-to-back shutout victories to take the series lead.

The Cubs are sending veteran righty John Lackey to the mound against Julio Urias. Lackey is 8-5 with a 3.22 earned run average in 24 postseason outings.

The 20-year-old in Urias is set to become the youngest starting pitcher in postseason history. He has thrown just 79 big league innings, including two out of the bullpen this postseason.

The fifth game of the series will be in Los Angeles Thursday night.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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