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and three hits in 2 1/3 innings

TORONTO — The Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays met in the American League Championship Series two years ago.It merely seems longer than that for Blue Jays fans now that their team is struggling.The Indians won that series in five games and then lost the World Series to the Chicago Cubs in seven.Article continues below ...The teams have gone in opposite directions.The Indians are on the verge of clinching the American League Central Jack Morris Jersey , while the Blue Jays are wallowing in fourth place in the AL East.Both teams will be coming off wins when they open a four-game series at the Rogers Centre on Thursday night.The Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals 3-1 on Wednesday afternoon at Progressive Field with Corey Kluber becoming the first 18-game winner this season.Cleveland’s magic number to clinch the AL Central is eight.The Blue Jays (63-76) defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 10-3 on Wednesday night to avoid being swept in the three-game series.The Indians (79-60) will start right-hander Shane Bieber (8-3, 4.66 ERA) in the opener and the Blue Jays will send out right-hander Sam Gaviglio (3-7, 5.02).Bieber will face the Blue Jays for the first time in his career. He is 4-0 with a 4.44 ERA in eight road starts this season. Gaviglio has never faced the Indians. He is 2-1 with a 2.68 ERA in 11 appearances (nine starts) at home in 2018.Toronto fans had hoped they might see third baseman Josh Donaldson, who has missed much of the season with a calf injury and was traded to Cleveland last week.Donaldson, however, was put back on the disabled list by the Indians and he is on a minor league rehabilitation assignment. He has not played since May 28 and is eligible to be activated Sept. 11.Donaldson hit a grand slam for Triple-A Columbus on Monday on the final day of regular-season action in the minors. He homered again Wednesday, a two-run shot, in going 1-for-3 for Akron in a 5-2 victory over Altoona in a Double-A Eastern League playoff game.“I feel pretty good,” Donaldson told the Akron Beacon Journal after the game. “(My) rhythm, my timing , pitch recognition feels good. My body is feeling even better. Anytime my body is feeling right, I’m going to perform to my capability.”Donaldson can become a free agent at the end of the season and a strong finish would enhance his bargaining power after such a disappointing season.“As I was telling the front office and (Indians manager) Tito (Terry Francona) before I went on the DL, my timing has come around a lot quicker than I even expected it to. I’m seeing the ball pretty well right now and I’ve had some success here recently.”If Toronto fans are disappointed in not seeing the return of the 2015 American League MVP, so was his former manager.“I was looking forward to seeing him,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.The Blue Jays have won two of three games from the Indians this season. They won 8-4 in Cleveland on April 13. The other two games were postponed until the teams split a doubleheader on May 3.As good as the Indians are, the Blue Jays had more trouble against the Rays, who still hold a 9-3 advantage over Toronto this season. That is one reason Wednesday’s win was a big relief for the Blue Jays.“One thing, we’ve always had trouble with Tampa Bay, whether it’s here or down there,” Gibbons said. “Their pitching’s always been tough on us. I don’t care if this is basically a new group. They’ve always done a number on us and it’s lasted a few years.”The Blue Jays had 16 hits Wednesday , which saved them from setting a dubious record. In the previous seven games meetings dating to June 12, the Rays had held the Blue Jays to five or fewer hits. That tied the major league record by any team against a single opponent set by the Baltimore Orioles against the Washington Senators from Sept. 11, 1968 to April 18, 1969. CHICAGO (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers are casting doubt on Jimmy Nelson’s chances of returning this season.Nelson had shoulder surgery last September after he got hurt diving back to first after rounding the base on a single. It was a tough conclusion to a breakout year for the right-hander, who went 12-6 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts.The 29-year-old Nelson has been working out, but he is running out of time.“Jimmy pitching for us this year is unlikely,” manager Craig Counsell said before Wednesday’s 8-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs. “And that’s not due to a setback of any nature. That’s just due to the pace of his rehab right now. So we’re not ruling it 100 percent out, probably best goal is to just get him into a competitive situation before he shuts it down for the offseason. But I think at this point, pitching for us, the timetable to get there just doesn’t seem likely.”Even with Nelson out and a couple more pitching injuries Matt Adams Jersey , Milwaukee is in the thick of the playoff hunt in the National League. It is in position for a wild card and just three back of Chicago for the NL Central lead.Vying for their first postseason appearance since 2011, the Brewers added another pitching possibility when they acquired Jake Thompson from Philadelphia for cash considerations on Tuesday. Zach Davies also could rejoin the team down the stretch after being sidelined by an inflamed right rotator cuff and tight lower back.Thompson was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. The 24-year-old right-hander is 7-8 with a 4.87 ERA in 18 starts and 30 major league appearances — all with the Phillies.“We look at him as another quality arm that adds to our depth,” general manager David Stearns said. “Similar to Jordan Lyles, he has experience starting and relieving. We’re going to look at him primarily as a reliever at this point. He’s another arm with options that we think can really just give us another guy to add to this rotation.”The Brewers claimed Lyles off waivers from San Diego on Aug. 5. He was hit hard in his first appearance with his new club, yielding three runs and three hits in 2 1/3 innings in a 10-1 loss at Atlanta on Friday.Davies made a rehab appearance with Double-A Biloxi on Saturday, surrendering four runs and five hits in five innings against Tennessee. He is scheduled to start for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday.“We’ll kind of take it from there,” Stearns said. “Part of this is how Zach is feeling. And he is beginning to feel better and I think getting more comfortable with where his body is at this point. Part of this is how our current group is performing and part of it is where we think Zach is at a performance level. All those are going to be taken into account. We are getting closer to September, so that could factor in.”The 25-year-old Davies is 2-5 with a 5.23 ERA in eight starts after winning 17 games last season. Stearns said they could have Davies make another rehab appearance after Saturday’s outing.

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