TORONTO (Ticker) -- C.C. Sabathia tuned up for his Game Three start in the Division Series by tossing five effective innings as the Cleveland Indians avoided a fifth straight loss with a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
The rookie lefthander limited the Blue Jays, who had won four in a row, to just one run and one hit. He struck out out five while walking two.
Cleveland opens the American League Division Series on Tuesday night in Seattle and Sabathia (17-5), who leads the team in victories after making the jump from Class AA Akron this year, will take the mound Saturday against baseball's best team.
"I haven't thought about it (the ALDS) yet," Sabathia said. "I just think about going out and pitching today. But now, just try to go out and throw strikes. They haven't seen me and I haven't seen them, so it will be a good match.
Russell Branyan hit his 20th homer and Eddie Taubensee and Karim Garcia also drove in runs for the Indians (91-71), who dropped five straight games only once this season, from June 14-19. Cleveland was one game better than last year, when it finished five games behind the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
"All our guys have done a tremendous job all year," Indians first baseman Jim Thome said. "It's just time to get going and see what happens (in the playoffs)."
The Blue Jays (80-82), who received another strong outing from rookie Brandon Lyon (5-4), failed in their bid to reach .500 and were three games worse than 2000, which also produced a third-place finish in the East.
"Obviously we weren't satisfied with this season," Toronto manager Buck Martinez said. "We had high expectations. We're disappointed we didn't realize those expectations, but I think we have a lot of the ingredients in place to become a champion."
After the game, the Blue Jays announced that hitting coach Cito Gaston and third base coach Terry Bevington, both former major league managers, will not be back next season. Gaston guided Toronto to its only World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.
"It's been a frustrating year," Blue Jays first baseman Brad Fullmer said. "Things didn't go as expected. It's been frustrating pretty much since May. At this point it's good to get it over with and hopefully put it behind (us)."
Lyon struck out a career-high eight while turning in a quality start for the sixth time in seven outings, allowing just two runs and six hits over six innings.
The Blue Jays gave Lyon a second-inning lead when Felipe Lopez delivered an RBI single, but Branyan's homer in the fifth tied it and Taubensee drove home Milton Bradley with a single later in the inning.
Garcia's eighth-inning sacrifice fly made it 3-1.
Perhaps the strangest moment of the afternoon occurred in the ninth. Retiring Toronto infielder Tony Fernandez, who grounded out as a pinch hitter in the eighth, was actually lifted in favor of Chris Woodward before taking what would have been the final at-bat of his career.