All good things must come to an end. Ryan Goins clubbed a walk-off 10th-inning 2-run homerun off Bryan Shaw to propel the Blue Jays to an electric win 5-3 in extra innings and bring the Tribe’s 6-game winning streak to a difficult screeching halt on Tuesday night in Toronto. In what was another exciting, close contest between two of the hottest teams in baseball, but the Jays came through in the clutch to even the three-game series at one win apiece for each ball club.
Cody Anderson (6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) had a strong showing and kept the powerful Toronto hitters off balance most of the night, but the real Tribe leader was Yan Gomes. With the Indians trailing 2-1 in the 7th inning, the Yanimal would unleash a game-tying solo HR to center field. Then, with the Wahoos facing a 3-2 deficit in the 9th inning, Gomes would again go boneyard to straight away center in what looked like a replay of his 7th-inning game-tying blast. Both clutch homeruns were off tough righthanders, in Marco Estrada (7 IP, 5 H, 2 Er, 1 BB, 2 K) and Jays’ hard-throwing closer Roberto Osuna.
Despite Gomes heroics and Anderson’s ability to keep the hot Blue Jay hitters rather quiet, it would be the light-hitting Goins who would swat the game-winning homerun, not stars like Encarnacion, Donaldson, Bautista, and Tulowitzki, who have paced Toronto to a league-leading 184 homeruns.
Diamond Notes–Key Plays and Questionable Strategy:
*With a chance to take the lead in the 9th inning after Abraham Almonte’s 1-out triple, Tito Francona would bring in pinch hitter Chris Johnson for his first at bat in more than three weeks, with the game on the line. With the infield in, Johnson would ground out weakly to second base and the runner would be stranded when Jose Ramirez lined out to end the inning. Is Johnson a veteran capable of winning a game with a key hit? Absolutely. But to get his first at bat in three weeks–against a right-handed pitcher, not a favorable lefty matchup when we expect to see him–is a highly questionable move on the part of Francona.
*Lindor would hit a 1-out double in the 10th inning, once again putting the potential game-winning run in scoring position for the Tribe. The offense would again strand the runner, setting the stage for Toronto’s walk off win in the bottom of the frame.
*Lindor made key plays on offense and defense throughout the game, including a nifty slide to earn an aggressive double. He would make a great diving grab in the 6th inning to retire Edwin Encarnacion; that play would stand out as Encarnacion’s 26-game hitting streak came to an end.
*Jeff Manship would continue to impress for the Tribe, as the veteran reliever would throw a solid scoreless 1-2-3 8th inning of work, striking out 2 and lowering his ERA to an impressive 1.37.
The Tribe will try to quickly erase Tuesday night’s difficult loss from their memory Wednesday night in the rubber game of the 3-game set in Toronto, as Trevor Bauer squares off against veteran knuckleballer RJ Dickey.