Replay Overturns Call at Plate, Spoils Streak and Davis Cycle; Blue Jays 9, Indians 6
Bob Toth | On 02, Jul 2016
A close play at the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning was overturned in Toronto’s favor, giving the Blue Jays the go-ahead run in a 9-6 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday, spoiling the team’s 14-game winning streak and a reverse cycle by Rajai Davis.
With the score tied at six, Dan Otero returned to the mound to pitch in his third different inning on the day. After striking out Darwin Barney, he walked the ninth batter he faced, Ezequiel Carrera, on four straight pitches before turning the game over to bullpen mate Tommy Hunter. After a single from Devon Travis, Josh Donaldson singled to center. Tyler Naquin fielded the high bounce and fired a strike on the fly to Chris Gimenez at the plate, who appeared to tag Carrera on the heel for the inning’s second out. The call on the field was out, but upon a lengthy replay review, the call was overturned.
Hunter struck out Edwin Encarnacion looking before a two-run double from Michael Saunders to left ripped open the game, giving the hard fought contest its final tally. The Indians got a hit in the ninth, but stranded Davis at second.
“I thought we had him out,” shared Gimenez after the game. “[Naquin] made a pretty good throw on a pretty tough high hop, but I definitely thought I had him on the leg. The explanation that they gave us was that his arm got in before I tagged him, which I don’t necessarily think was the case. I can’t tell either, but I definitely thought we had him out.”
“It’s not on them, they don’t even get an explanation once it goes to replay. I had went and looked at it six or seven times. I don’t know how you can overrule that,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “I mean I couldn’t tell if he’s safe or out. If he’d have called him safe, I don’t know how they’d overrule it. You call him out, I don’t know how you overrule it. They keep telling us, it has to be conclusive. I’ll look forward to an explanation that I understand from the league, because as of now from what I’ve seen, I don’t know how they did that. I was shocked.
“I came in and looked at all the angles. You can’t tell. I don’t know. He might be safe, but you can’t tell. I looked at every angle there is. They’re supposed to have the same angles we do.”
The franchise record 14-game winning streak for the Indians (49-31) comes to its end in bizarre fashion on a strange day in general as the club had to go to a bullpen-by-committee approach after using the day’s starter Trevor Bauer for five innings of relief in Friday’s win. Cleveland fell to 8-1 on their ten-game road trip with one final game to play Sunday afternoon.
“Losing’s hard. We weren’t playing for the last 15 days or whatever, we were trying to win today,” said Francona. “That’ll never change.”
“We battled. We were out there giving it all we got even though we played a long one yesterday,” said Davis. “Guys are out there playing with energy and that’s tough to do after playing 19. Fortunately, I was able to get a little break for the last seven innings, so I got a head start on my rest, and I think that helped out.”
The late reversal of fortune for the Indians spoiled a historic day by Davis at his former home, the Rogers Centre.
On the heels of a 19-inning marathon, Davis led off the game with a solo home run, his ninth of the season and his first leadoff shot. Marco Estrada, the Jays starter, struck out the next three batters.
Zach McAllister got the “start” for the Indians and was out of control. He plunked Carrera with a pitch that was nowhere near the plate to start the bottom half of the first. He struck out Travis swinging and walked Donaldson before Encarnacion clobbered a mistake deep to center for a three-run shot.
Naquin led off the third inning with a single to right, the third straight inning the Indians started the frame with a hit. After Gimenez struck out, Davis worked the count full before tripling to right, driving in Naquin to cut the deficit to one.
With one down in the fourth, Friday’s hero, Carlos Santana, drove an Estrada offering out to right. His 18th of the year tied the game at three.
The lead was just temporary as the Jays struck through against rookie left-hander Shawn Morimando during his third inning of relief. After the first two outs of the inning, Russell Martin reached at first on a mistake by Santana, who was unable to scoop the throw from Juan Uribe. Troy Tulowitzki made the Indians pay with a big two-run blast to left to make it a 5-3 game.
“We started out in a hole, we had to keep digging back,” said Francona. “We bring in Morimando and he actually showed some poise. He got the two quick outs and got the ground ball to third that we don’t convert. Then the home run hurt.”
Joe Biagini took over in the sixth for Estrada and forced in a run. Jason Kipnis struck out for the third straight at bat but reached on a wild pitch. Jose Ramirez singled and Santana walked after a strikeout from Mike Napoli. Lonnie Chisenhall struck out for the second out before Uribe was hit in the right thumb by a 3-2 pitch to force in the fourth run of the game. Aaron Loup relieved and got Naquin to ground out to strand the bases loaded.
Cleveland tied and then reclaimed the lead briefly in the seventh as former starter Drew Hutchison took the mound in relief. Davis doubled for his third hit of the game with one out and Ramirez singled him home with a two-out liner to center to tie it. Napoli doubled deep off the wall in left to drive in Ramirez with a head first dive across the plate.
With the lead, Otero took over for Morimando and promptly gave up a first pitch home run to Donaldson to tie the game. It was a rare mistake for Otero, who had not given up a home run through his first 30 1/3 innings this season and had allowed just three earned runs all season.
The Blue Jays (44-39) used the three-run gift eighth to help end the Indians’ big streak, the longest in the Majors since 2004, and improved to 20-19 at Rogers Centre this year.
“It was going to end at some point because we weren’t going to go like 100-0,” said Gimenez about the end of the streak. “Today especially we show a lot about what we’re about. We got down a few times early in the game and were able to claw back and, especially after last night, I think it could have been easy for a lot of guys to throw in the towel, and [say] ‘hey, we’ll get ‘em tomorrow’. But I think it shows a lot about what this team is about and I think Tito kinda tells the team the same thing. Essentially, he was pretty proud of us for what we did for the last 15 days and that we have something pretty special going on here.”
“It was a hard game to win,” said Francona, “but I still would have liked to have seen our chances if that guy is out at the plate.”
DAVIS’ REVERSE CYCLE
After a homer in the first and triple in the third, Davis grounded out to short in the fifth inning. He doubled and scored in the seventh inning before stepping up a single short in the ninth inning. He lined a single to right-center.
“That was very impressive. When that happens, it gives you a chance to kinda brag about maybe all the other things he’s doing that maybe people don’t realize, because he’s been such a spark for us in so many ways,” said Francona. “Today he was obviously one of the people to talk about.”
It was the eighth cycle in Indians history and the seventh that the team has hit in their history on the road. It was the first Cleveland cycle since Travis Hafner on August 14, 2003, and is the second cycle hit by an Indians player on July 2, matching Tony Horton’s in 1970.
“I have not hit for a cycle,” said Davis. “Not in little league, not in senior league, not in Babe Ruth, not in my entire life until now, The Show, the big leagues. This is nice. Mmhmm.”
He is the first player in club history to hit for the cycle backwards (homer, triple, double, single) and just the sixth to do so in Major League history.
Prior to the game, the Indians added left-handed starter Morimando from Double-A Akron. While they would have liked him to have made it to Toronto for the start, he had to travel from Pawtucket to Akron to Cleveland prior to arriving at the Rogers Centre due to passport related issues.
He gave the Indians the length that they needed in a bullpen game, going three and two-thirds in his Major League debut. He allowed two runs on the Tulowitzki home run on six hits in total with a walk and four strikeouts.
ESTRADA’S STREAK ENDS
Estrada lasted five innings, giving up three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. It was the first time in a dozen starts that he has failed to pitch into the sixth inning.
Fourteen of Estrada’s 16 starts have been at least six innings.
Uribe was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning and would later leave the game, as Ramirez moved to third and Francisco Lindor entered off of the bench. The extent of his injury did not sound good in Francona’s postgame interview.
“We’re checking him out now,” said Francona. “He got hit…his fingernail is probably…I don’t know if it’s already off or not…but it got it. They got an x-ray and it was negative, but we’re going to have to check him out. He couldn’t grip a ball.”
Danny Salazar was named the American League Pitcher of the Month for June with a 5-0 record and 1.91 ERA. Naquin was similarly named the AL Rookie of the Month after hitting .338 with a .434 on-base percentage, .785 slugging, and 1.219 OPS in 23 games in the month, adding five doubles, three triples, six homers, and 15 RBI to his season stats.
KIPNIS STREAK ENDS AT 13
Second baseman Kipnis had a bad day at the plate. He struck out in each of his first three at bats before lining out in the seventh and popping up to short in the ninth.
Kipnis was joined by two other teammates in earning the hat trick on Saturday afternoon with three strikeouts at the plate. Napoli and Chisenhall each were punched out three times.
GOINS INJURED PITCHING FRIDAY
Ryan Goins, the first of two position players used on the mound by the Blue Jays in their loss on Friday night, has landed on the 15-day disabled list with right forearm soreness.
Reliever Bo Schultz was also optioned to Triple-A Buffalo, while Toronto recalled pitchers Loup and Hutchison to take their roster spots.
WHO’S UP NEXT?
Right-hander Corey Kluber (8-7, 3.50) gets to play the stopper on Sunday and go for the Indians’ 50th win of the year as they try to claim the series and a positive end to a productive and successful road trip so far. Left-hander J.A. Happ (10-3, 3.70) will oppose for the Jays.
First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 1:07 PM ET.
Photo: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP