Carlos Santana delivered a go-ahead home run in the 19th inning and Trevor Bauer gave Cleveland five scoreless innings of relief for the win as the Indians knocked off the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-1, on Canada Day on Friday.
In a game that featured more than two games worth of innings, 19 pitchers (including two position players and the Indians starter for Saturday afternoon), 606 pitches, 34 runners left on base (and a combined 2-for-22 hitting with runners in scoring position), three ejections, and a game that broke pace of play efforts with a six hours and 13 minute marathon, the Indians (49-30) established a new franchise record with their 14th straight win. The previous mark of 13 was set in 1942 and was matched in 1951.
Cleveland is now 8-0 on their ten-game road trip and has limited opposing teams to just 27 runs scored over their last 14 games. They have the longest winning streak in baseball since 2002, when the Oakland A’s won 20 straight.
Santana led off the 19th against the Blue Jays’ second position player of the game on the mound, Darwin Barney (0-1, 9.00 ERA), who like Ryan Goins before him had never logged a pro pitch. Santana took him deep to right off of the facing of the second deck to give the Tribe a 2-1 lead. Bauer finished off the bottom half of the inning, needing just eight pitches to retire the side and end the contest.
The Indians took the lead in the third after stranding a pair in the second. It would take 16 innings before another runner would successfully cross the plate for Cleveland.
Santana began the third inning with a double to center against Toronto starter Marcus Stroman. He came around to score as Jason Kipnis extended his hitting streak with an RBI-single to center to make it 1-0 Tribe.
Josh Tomlin was dealing for the Indians, striking out the side in the first and five through the first two innings. He got a big double play ball in the third to erase a one-out single and worked out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth after a one-out single by Devon Travis, a two-out single from Russell Martin, and a walk to Troy Tulowitzki to load them. Tomlin got his man, however, as Justin Smoak grounded to second to end the threat.
The Jays loaded them again in the fifth after back-to-back singles from Kevin Pillar and Barney put two on before a sacrifice and an intentional walk to Josh Donaldson loaded the bases with one down. Tomlin got Travis swinging for the second out and got a liner to center by Michael Saunders to dance out of trouble again.
Smoak got his revenge in the seventh, hitting a two-out shot to center to tie the game at one. Tomlin faced one more batter, getting a grounder to complete his seventh inning on the mound.
Stroman was good after the Kipnis single, retiring 12 straight batters before Lonnie Chisenhall led off the seventh with a single. He would make it to third as the Indians loaded the bases with two outs on an error and a walk, but Kipnis flied to center to end Stroman’s outing and leave the game knotted at 1-1.
It became a bullpen game from there and then some, as the Indians would not threaten again until the tenth inning against reliever Joe Biagini. Kipnis was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a two-out single from Mike Napoli, but Jose Ramirez lined to center to end it. The Jays put runners on the corners with two outs against Zach McAllister in the eleventh, but he got Smoak to foul out to third.
The Indians got Chisenhall to third base with two outs against Jesse Chavez in the 14th, but could not get him in. He singled to start the inning, moved over to third on a pair of groundouts, but was stranded as Rajai Davis grounded out to short. The Jays followed by loading the bases again in the bottom of the frame against Joba Chamberlain, but left them loaded. After a leadoff single, they grounded into a pair of fielder’s choices before Barney doubled down the left field line. Pillar had to hold at third and after a walk of Ezequiel Carrera to load the bases, Chamberlain got Donaldson to ground to first on a check swing to end the tight rope act.
Cleveland wasted good opportunities in the 15th, 16th, and 18th to take the lead. A Kipnis walk and Francisco Lindor single with one out put runners on the corners, but Napoli grounded into a double play. Back-to-back leadoff singles the next inning were wasted on a pop out, a strike out, and a line out. In the 18th against position player Goins, making his first pro appearance on the mound, the Indians got two singles to lead off the inning to place runners on the corners. Michael Martinez grounded to third, where Ramirez got in a run down long enough to advance both runners into scoring position, but after a walk to Tyler Naquin to load the bases, Chris Gimenez grounded into a double play.
Bauer took over on the mound in the bottom of the 15th. He faced the minimum that inning and stranded two in the 16th after a pair of infield singles.
The Blue Jays (43-39) fell to 19-19 at Rogers Centre.
It was hard to remember at the end of the game that Tomlin actually started for the Indians on Friday afternoon, especially after five innings of work from Bauer in relief.
Tomlin gave the Indians six innings on the mound, allowing one run on seven hits. He walked two, a rarity for him, and struck out eight batters.
“I saw him out there shaking hands and I’m like, ‘did you pitch?’” joked Indians manager Terry Francona. “The home run was right on the black, but a big strong kid hit it. I thought he pitched great.”
BAUER SAVES THE DAY
Bauer (7-2, 3.02 ERA) made a game-changing appearance, especially when comparing the circumstances to that of the Blue Jays, who opted to use a pair of position players on the mound which led to the winning run for the Tribe. Bauer may have sacrificed his scheduled Saturday start in the process, but he got the Indians the needed win.
“I was tired, man,” said Bauer. “I didn’t know what inning it was. Been out here for a long time, sitting on the bench, thinking you’re going to pitch tomorrow, you kinda check out mentally sometimes. Was able to lock it in thankfully, and that homer by Santana was huge. I’m happy.”
Bauer worked five scoreless innings, allowing a pair of hits and three walks while striking out three. He had trouble at times with location, but he was pitching on short rest. Gimenez bailed him out several times with incredible blocks behind the plate.
“I was yanking a lot of them. Adrenaline gets going, I want to make sure that I get them in the dirt, instead of staying through it I kind of pull off it,” said Bauer of his curveball. “It’s actually something I struggled with a lot my last outing on all my pitches, so I made some adjustments in the bullpen yesterday actually but they haven’t taken hold yet.”
Six different relievers combined to throw seven innings of no-hit baseball for the Tribe in relief of Tomlin. They struck out seven and McAllister walked a pair.
“Everybody on both sides of the field pitched their hearts out. Our bullpen comes in and puts up all zeroes. So does theirs,” said Francona. “I thought what Trevor did was kinda above and beyond. We’re pretty fortunate that, couple things, not only that he can do it but he is willing to do it and because one slip up and we go home. You get so invested in a game like that because you’ve shot everybody. So it feels good to win. It’s the kind of game you kinda wish you were playing at home because you’re one bad pitch or one slip up from going home with a loss and that’s a long day.”
Chamberlain and Bauer each allowed two hits in their efforts.
Stroman was dealt a tough no-decision despite holding the Indians to just one run on five hits and a walk over six and two-thirds innings. He struck out six, ending a string of disappointing and short starts for the Jays on the mound.
Three different Blue Jays started their Canada Day celebrations early.
Edwin Encarnacion was tossed in the bottom of the first inning after being called out on strikes on a 3-2 pitch and appeared to make contact with the plate umpire. Manager John Gibbons immediately exited as a result after coming out to argue with home plate ump Vic Carapazza, whose strike zone, to be fair, was as wild and unpredictable as it was high and wide.
Martin, who had been demonstrative throughout the game, was finally ejected in the 13th after he was called out on a check swing by the first base umpire. He…lost control on the field.
SOMBREROS FOR MANY
Three different players in the game on Friday struck out at least four times.
Both Martin and the Indians’ Napoli were punched out four times in the game, receiving the golden sombrero nod. Saunders struck out five times for the Jays, earning himself the much more elusive platinum sombrero.
CHISENHALL’S FIVE-HIT GAME
After being held without a hit in the first six innings, Chisenhall managed to put together a five-hit game at the plate to boost his season batting average to .311.
It matched his previous career high, last set on June 9, 2014, against the Texas Rangers when he hit three homers and drove in nine runs in a 17-7 win. That was the second five-hit game of the 2014 season for Chisenhall.
KIPNIS STREAK HITS 13
The RBI-single by Kipnis in the third inning extended his hitting streak to 13 straight games. It was the only hit on the afternoon and evening for the Indians second baseman, who has just two multi-hit games in his current baker’s dozen.
WHO’S UP NEXT?
Cleveland will need a starter for Saturday.
With several options from Columbus unavailable, there is a chance that left-hander Shawn Morimando could get the call from Double-A Akron to make his Major League debut. He is on the 40-man roster and is scheduled to start for the RubberDucks on Saturday. The RubberDucks already list someone else in his spot in the rotation for Saturday’s pitching probables, while other potential candidates on the Columbus roster are unavailable (Mike Clevinger pitched Wednesday, Will Roberts on Thursday, Adam Plutko would be on short rest, Ross Detwiler is on the inactive list, and Ryan Merritt is on the disabled list).
“We’re working through that right now. We’ve got some things we’ve got to talk through,” said Francona after the game. “We’ll figure it out here in a little bit.”
The Blue Jays will counter with Marco Estrada. First pitch from Toronto is scheduled for 1:07 PM ET.
Photo: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP