Sports

Cleveland bullpen steps up after Bauer leaves ALCS Game 3 with bloody pinky

Bauer got the start despite cutting his finger while repairing a drone last Thursday. He needed 11 stitches to close the wound.

Trevor Bauer #47 of the Cleveland Indians leaves the field looking at his bloodied finger during the first inning in Game 3 of the ALCS baseball series against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, October 17, 2016.

Torstar News Service

Trevor Bauer #47 of the Cleveland Indians leaves the field looking at his bloodied finger during the first inning in Game 3 of the ALCS baseball series against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, October 17, 2016.

TORONTO — Indians starter Trevor Bauer wasn't expecting to get a standing ovation at Toronto's Rogers Centre.

The right-hander received a rousing round of applause from Jays fans as he left the mound in the first inning of Monday's playoff game with a bleeding finger. But Toronto supporters weren't giving the injured pitcher a supportive boost, rather they were rejoicing in the fact that Cleveland would need to dip into its bullpen so early in the game.

Cleveland's relievers ultimately took care of their injured starter, limiting the Blue Jays to just two earned runs on six hits and leading the Indians to 4-2 win and a 3-0 lead in the American League Championship Series.

As Bauer was leaving the game, he waved his glove hand to the cheering Jays fans above the Indians dugout.

"That was the loudest standing ovation I've ever gotten after an outing," he joked. "I guess I enjoyed the claps and them cheering since I was injured."

Bauer got the start despite cutting his finger while repairing a toy drone last Thursday. He needed 11 stitches to close the wound and was pushed back to the third game of the series after originally being named Cleveland's starter for Game 2.

Throwing in game conditions, however, opened the wound right up.

"I think after the 1-2 pitch to (Troy) Tulowitzki, I felt on my ring finger a little bit of blood so I looked down, bleeding pretty good," said Bauer. "I was like, 'Well, my only chance to stay in the game here is get back quick in the dugout and stop the bleeding', but sometimes circumstances aren't in your favour and good teams find a way to overcome them and find away to win.

"Glad we were able to do that today."

After Bauer issued a two-out walk to Tulowitzki, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons asked home plate umpire Brian Gorman to check on the pitcher as blood could be seen dripping down his hand on to his uniform and the pitcher's mound.

Indians manager Terry Francona came out of the dugout and talked with Bauer and the umpires before the decision was made that he would have to leave the game.

"When I went out there, I mean — first thing I saw was blood on the rubber," said Francona. "I figured that wasn't a real good sign that things were going well.

"It was bleeding pretty good. The weird thing, it was only one little spot that opened, but, man, it was coming out a lot."

Bauer issued two walks, had one strikeout and threw nine of his 21 pitches for strikes. He was replaced by right-hander Dan Otero.

Bauer's availability for the remainder of the Indians post-season run is uncertain at this point. Cleveland could elect to replace him on their roster should they advance to the World Series.

Right-hander Corey Kluber will get the ball for the Indians on short rest in Game 4 on Tuesday afternoon while the Blue Jays will counter with Aaron Sanchez.

"It feels fantastic. There's a lot of joy in the clubhouse," Bauer said of being one win away from the World Series. "We've overcome a lot to get to this point and everyone believes in the team. They go out there and play. When one guy goes down, another one steps in. Multiple guys step in. We're having a lot of fun."

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version suggested the ovation was from Jays fans was in support of Bauer.