July 30, 2014

Elyria
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Tribe fans keep faith for Game 6

CLEVELAND — The suddenly more precarious playoff position of the Cleveland Indians left fans taking a deep breath Friday and insisting they remain confident of a World Series berth.

STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE
Fans wave their white towels at the start of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Indians and Red Sox at Jacobs Field.

“I’m not worried,” Tom Kocin, 61, of Cleveland, said while on a break from his window-washing job.

Kocin, wearing a red Indians T-shirt, took comfort knowing the Indians still hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series, which moves to Boston for Game 6 tonight.

A Red Sox win would tie the series 3-3 and mean a deciding game Sunday at Fenway Park, with the winner going to the World Series against Colorado.

Kocin said it was unreasonable to expect the Indians to beat a solid Boston team in four straight games.

“You aren’t going to beat Boston four in a row. We’ll take them. We WILL take them,” he said.

Cab driver Faid Abbille, 29, also tried to put on his best blue-collar, get-to-work game face.

“I think the next time we will win,” he said while waiting outside a hotel for an airport fare. “It was sad that we lost that game.”

But worried? None of that. A city’s 43-year sports title drought can make die-hard fans, well, resilient.

Fans were preparing for the best, grabbing up free tickets for a Jacobs Field game-watching party tonight at the rate of more than 1,000 per hour.

The club offered 10,000 free tickets to watch each road playoff game on a big screen at Jacobs Field, plus another 2,000 club seats with unlimited food for $25 each. The offer was expanded Friday to about 15,000 free tickets.

Charles Thomas, 38, head chef at the Clevelander tavern near Jacobs Field, wore an Indians T-shirt Friday and remained undaunted.

“We’ve got a good team. I’m always behind my team, if they win or lose, I still love the Indians,” he said.

Samantha Calixto, 29, of Cleveland, had her hands full, with her 2-year-old son on one arm and 8-month-old daughter on the other as she came to the Jacobs Field gift shop looking for an Asdrubal Cabrera jersey. The rookie second baseman joined the Indians in August and has become her favorite player.

“This is the only place that sells it. We’ve looked everywhere,” she said.

Fan Cory Newman survived the fans’ mood shift at Game 5. “The bats just weren’t clicking. We still have a good shot. I like our chances Saturday,” he said.