Associated Press


After what’s already been a magical year in Cleveland when LeBron James and the Cavaliers earned the city’s first sports championship since 1964, the Indians are four wins away from another title.

Rookie Ryan Merritt coolly delivered a lead to the Andrew Miller-led bullpen and the Indians won their first pennant since 1997, blanking Toronto 3-0 Wednesday in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

Cleveland, which has never hosted a World Series opener, will play Game 1 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night against either the Cubs or Dodgers.

The Indians’ title drought dates to 1948.

With all of 11 major league innings under his belt, Merritt took the mound and looked just like a seasoned vet. The 24-year-old lefty retired the first 10 batters and allowed only two hits before being pulled after 41/3 innings.

Miller again did most of the heavy lifting, pitching 22/3 innings, and Cody Allen pitched the ninth for the save. Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp homered for the Indians.