CLEVELAND (AP) — Led by a throwback pitcher who looks as if he stepped out of their 1948 team photo, the Cleveland Indians moved one win from another crack at winning an elusive World Series title.
Pumping his arms with an old-school windup from yesteryear, Paul Byrd blanked Boston long enough and the Indians used a seven-run rampage in the fifth inning to beat the Red Sox, 7-3, Tuesday night for a 3-1 lead in the AL championship series.
The Indians, who knocked out the New York Yankees and their monstrous payroll in the first round of the playoffs, now have the free-spending Red Sox on the ropes.
A victory in Game 5 on Thursday night would send Cleveland back to the World Series for the first time since 1997, when the Indians lost a seven-game thriller to the Florida Marlins.
Another Series first-timer — the amazing Colorado Rockies — are patiently waiting for an opponent.
And it just might be the Indians, who haven’t won a world championship since ’48, when they beat the Boston Braves. Cleveland’s 59-year drought is only eclipsed by the Chicago Cubs, those lovable losers whose futility now extends to 99 years this fall after an early-October flame out.