Bats Swing and Miss In Clutch, Lose Series; Blue Jays 3, Indians 0
By Christian Petrila
Most people would consider the series finale against Toronto one of the most frustrating games of the season and it would be a hard case to argue.
The Blue Jays blanked the Indians 3-0 in a game that saw the Indians continuously fizzle out offensively. They left nine runners on base and constantly had bad at bats with runners on.
Toronto did all of its damage in the third inning. By that time, the Indians had already stranded three runners and gone 0-5 with runners in scoring position.
In that third inning, Derek Lowe walked Kelly Johnson on four pitches to open the frame. Johnson then stole second, and then took third as Carlos Santana’s throw went into center field. Lowe then got a big strikeout on former Indian, Ben Francisco for the first out. J.P. Arencibia then put the Jays on the board with an RBI single to center. He got Brett Lawrie to ground out to third, but then simply could not get that third out.
Colby Rasmus drove in Arencibia with a single to right center to make it 2-0. The next batter was Jose Bautista, and he hit the first pitch he saw into left field to move Rasmus to third. Lowe then walked Edwin Encarnacion on four pitches to load the bases. The next batter was Adam Lind, and he got the same result: a four-pitch walk. That made it 3-0. It could’ve been worse, but Lowe struck out Yunel Escobar to end the inning and the Toronto threat.
Lowe settled down after that shaky third inning, keeping the Blue Jays off the board until his day was done. His final line was six innings while allowing three earned runs on three hits while striking out five and walking four.
Toronto starter Carlos Villanueva kept the Indians off balance all day long, despite barely throwing 50 percent of his pitches for strikes. He went six innings as well, allowing no runs on three hits. He did walk five, but struck out a career-high eight.
The lone bright spot for the Indians offense was that Michael Brantley was able to extend his hitting streak to 13 games with a two-for-three game. Other than that, they left runners on in the first, second, fourth, sixth, seventh and ninth.
The loss drops the Indians to 45-43, while Toronto gets above the .500-mark to 45-44. Lowe gets tagged for his seventh loss of the year, while Villanueva remains perfect with a 4-0 record.
The Indians continue their artificial turf road trip when they travel to Tampa Bay on Monday. Zach McAllister is expected to start against Alex Cobb, who picked up a win against the Indians on July 6. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m.
Photo: AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim