Jimenez Escapes Jams, Blanks Blue Jays; Indians 3, Blue Jays 0

Tuesday night marked the midway point of the Tribe’s 10-game home stand to finish out the first half of the season. After dropping three of four to the division-leading Tigers, the Indians bounced back with a 3-0 win against Toronto.

Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4, 4.37 ERA) recorded the win against Josh Johnson (1-4, 4.62 ERA) on the opposite side of things. With the win, Cleveland improves to 47-43. Toronto falls to 43-46 with the loss.

Rain delayed the first pitch by 36 minutes. But that didn’t stop the Blue Jays’ bats from coming to life early in the game.

Once the tarps were rolled back, the Blue Birds hit three doubles and a single in the first four innings. Jimenez and the Tribe defense were able to work out of each jam, though, without yielding any runs. Toronto left nine runners stranded in the game.

Cleveland, on the other hand, did not have a hit until the fourth inning. After a six pitch, one out walk to Asdrubal Cabrera in the fourth, the Tribe bats got hot. Jason Kipnis, Nick Swisher and Michael Brantley all followed with a single to bring home two runs. Kipnis, Swisher and Brantley are batting a combined .338 for the month of July.

Cody Allen relieved the Indians starter to defend the Tribe’s 2-0 lead in the seventh. Despite winning four of his last five starts, Jimenez did not throw six or more innings since an eight inning start against Tampa Bay on June 1.

Jimenez finished Tuesday night after pitching six innings with five hits, two walks and four punch-outs.

“He did a good job. There was some traffic for the better part of the night,” said Terry Francona. “He pitched around some things. He never let it spiral or get out of hand. He pitched himself back into counts when he needed to. He had good life on his fastball. There were a lot of things to like.

“Every time he goes out there, I think from maybe the second start of the year, we feel like we have a good chance to win. He gives us a chance to win. We’ll take that.”

Drew Stubbs welcomed Steve Delabar to the game in the eighth with a double to deep right center. But what seemed impossible the night before against Max Scherzer—get him over, get him in—looked easy tonight. Michael Bourn hit a sacrifice bunt to move Stubbs over. Then Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly to put the Tribe up 3-0.

The 3-0 win gives the Indians their AL-leading 11th shutout of the season—Jimenez has pitched in three of those shutouts. Chris Perez entered the game in the ninth and recorded his 10th save of the season.

“His ball has life,” said Francona. “He’s staying down in the zone. That’s very encouraging.

“This was a nice bounce back win. We didn’t do a lot offensively, but we played a crisp game. Again, it starts with pitching. It was a good bounce back game for us.”

Justin Masterson (10-7, 3.78 ERA) will start tomorrow against the Blue Jays’ Esmil Rogers (3-4, 3.84 ERA). The game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

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