The Cleveland Indians began their three-game road series against the Toronto Blue Jays having on the upswing, having won seven of their last ten games. Justin Masterson had been pitching better as the season went on and Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey had continued to struggle in his second year with the team. The signs pointed to the Indians continuing their winning ways to start this series. Momentum in baseball is a fickle thing though, and the Indians fell short tonight losing by a final score of five to four.
In many ways this was a tale of two games. Both Masterson and Dickey cruised throughout the early stages of the game. The Tribe scored first when Nick Swisher drove in Mike Aviles with a two-out single in the top of the third inning. Toronto came back to tie the game when Jose Reyes tripled and scored on a Melky Cabrera sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Blue Jays then took a 2-1 lead on an absolute blast to the second deck by Jose Francisco in the bottom of the fifth inning. Still, it seemed like this game was going to be a pitcher’s duel. Then the bottom of the sixth inning happened.
Cabrera and Bautista reached base for the Blue Jays to start the inning, and then Adam Lind hit a two-run double with nobody out to give Toronto a 4-1 lead. Then Francisco (who is having by far the best year of his career) followed his home run the previous inning with a double down the right field line to give the Blue Jays what seemed like a commanding 5-1 lead.
Terry Francona’s crew did not just give in though. Singles by Asdrubal Cabrera and David Murphy, as well as a walk by Yan Gomes loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the seventh. Lonnie Chisenhall was then hit by a pitch to force a run in and make the score 5-2. Michael Bourn then hit a one-out single to score another run, and a Nick Swisher sacrifice fly made it a 5-4 game. Unfortunately that was as far as the rally went for the Indians, and the Blue Jays held on by a final score of 5-4. If there is one positive to this game, it was the pitching performance of exiled closer John Axford, who pitched a perfect inning with one strikeout in the bottom of the seventh.
The Indians now sit at 18-21 on the season and continue their series with the Blue Jays tomorrow night. Hopefully they can get back on track and continue their climb back to .500 and beyond.