Five Toronto Bombs and Tribe Miscues Too Much to Overcome; Blue Jays 10, Indians 8
By Christian Petrila
Nothing was quiet on the northern front, as the Indians and Blue Jays played home run derby with Toronto coming out on top, 10-8 in the series finale.
Facing a familiar foe in Mark Buehrle, the Indians struck in the first inning after recording two quick outs from Michael Bourn and Asdrubal Cabrera, but Jason Kipnis stretched a single into a double on a play that could be characterized as pure hustle. Nick Swisher followed it up with an RBI double that hopped over the wall in left field to score Kipnis. That would be it, though, as Buehrle got the red-hot Michael Brantley to ground out to first.
Brett Myers’ first inning as an Indians didn’t go too well. After walking Jose Reyes on four pitches, he got Melky Cabrera to ground out, but Reyes advanced to second on the play. Jose Bautista followed it up by swinging at a hanging breaking ball and parking it into the second deck in left for his second home run in as many nights. Myers settled down and got Edwin Encarnacion to fly out and Adam Lind to ground out to end the inning with the Jays up 2-1.
The second inning didn’t start out much better for Myers. The very first pitch of the inning was taken to the second deck in left, center field by J.P. Arencibia for a 3-1 lead. Myers got former Indian Mark DeRosa to fly out to center, after which Colby Rasmus grounded out. Emilio Bonifacio singled down the left field line, but Reyes grounded out to end the inning.
The Blue Jays would keep that 3-1 lead until the top of the fourth. Buehrle got two quick outs against Swisher and Brantley, but those at bats were followed up with back-to-back homers courtesy of Carlos Santana and the previous night’s hero, Mark Reynolds. There would be no third as Lonnie Chisenhall struck out, but the Indians got the timely hits they needed to even up the game at 3-3.
The longball struck again in the bottom of the fifth inning. With Myers still on the mound, the inning began with Bonifacio trying to beat out a bunt single. Chisenhall made a nice barehanded play at third to get the speedy second baseman out. Reyes followed with a line drive single to right, after which he promptly stole second. Melky Cabrera drew a walk and Bautista lined out to center. Encarnacion followed up with a laser three-run home run just over the wall in left to put Toronto ahead 6-3. Myers would get Lind to fly out to deep center to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Toronto’s lead was short lived. For the second straight inning, the Indians got their first two men on as Swisher was walked and Brantley was hit by a pitch. Santana continued his success from his previous at bat by hitting a ground rule double down the left field line to drive in Swisher. After Reynolds popped out, Chisenhall knotted up the score with a two-run double to the gap in left, center field. That hit spelled the end for Buehrle, who was pulled after going 5.1 innings while allowing six runs on seven hits.
After the Blue Jays brought in Steve Delabar to try and quell the Indians rally, he struck out Drew Stubbs looking. Michael Bourn reached on an infield single to keep the inning going, but Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out to end the rally.
Once again, Myers wasn’t able to silence Toronto’s bats after an Indians rally. For the second time in the game, Arencibia took the righty deep. That was it for Myers, whose debut wasn’t what he had hoped for. Five-plus innings while allowing seven runs on seven hits, four of those being homers and not striking out a single hitter.
Cody Allen came on for his first relief appearance of the year. After striking out DeRosa, he gave up a very long home run to Colby Rasmus –Toronto’s fifth home run of the night. Bonifacio followed it up with a double. Allen got Reyes to fly out, but an error on what would’ve been an inning-ending put out at first allowed Bonifacio to score. Allen flirted with further disaster by walking Bautista and Encarnacion before getting Lind to fly out to center to end the inning.
The Indians got a run closer in the top of the seventh. With Aaron Loup on the mount for the Jays, Kipnis grounded out, but Swisher hit a single. After Brantley grounded out, Santana got his third hit of the game with a liner to right. The Blue Jays brought former Indian Esmil Rogers to pitch to Reynolds, who continued his hot streak by lining a pitch into right for an RBI single.Rogers struck out Chisenhall to retire the side, but the Indians were down just 9-7.
Cleveland continued the comeback trail in the eighth inning against Darren Oliver. After two quick outs, Asdrubal Cabrera and Kipnis got back-to-back doubles to cut the deficit to 9-8. The Indians were in prime position to tie or even take the lead after loading the bases, but Bonifacio made a sensational play to throw out Santana from the outfield grass to retire the side and keep the Blue Jays lead in tact.
Toronto got a much-needed insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. With Matt Albers pitching his second inning of relief, he got a quick first out before walking Reyes and Cabrera. The inning could’ve ended without any blemishes when Bautista hit what looked to be an inning-ending double play ball, but Kipnis had trouble getting it out of his glove, which allowed Reyes to score all the way from second. Encarnacion would strike out to end the inning, but the Jays now held a 10-8 lead.
Unfortunately for the Indians, there was no comeback in the ninth inning as Casey Janssen sent down the Tribe 1-2-3 to give Toronto its first win of the season.
The winning pitcher was Delabar (1-0) while Myers (0-1) was saddled with the loss. Janssen earned his first save of the year.
Next up for the Indians, they travel to St. Petersburg to take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game series that begins Friday at 7:10 p.m. Zach McAllister makes his season debut against Tampa’s Matt Moore.
Photo: AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young