Brett Myers gave up four home runs and the Tribe’s offense’s persistence wasn’t enough Thursday night as the Blue Jays (1-2) beat the Indians (2-1), 10-8, to avoid the sweep and hand Cleveland its first loss of the season.
It didn’t take long for the Indians to get on the board. After Jason Kipnis connected for a two-out two-bagger off Toronto starter Mark Buehrle, Nick Swisher brought him home with an RBI ground-rule double to make it 1-0 Cleveland. But Jose Bautista took Brett Myers yard for a two-run homer in the bottom of the first and J.P. Arencibia led off the home half of the second with a solo shot to put the Blue Jays on top, 3-1.
The scoring only picked up in the middle innings. Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds hit back-to-back homers in the fourth to tie the game at 3-3, but Edwin Encarnacion‘s three-run shot in the bottom of the fifth made it 6-3 Blue Jays. Cleveland rallied in the top of the sixth as Santana’s RBI ground-rule double and Lonnie Chisenhall‘s two-run two-bagger knotted the game up at 6-6, but homers from Arencibia and Rasmus and a critical Reynolds error helped Toronto score three more in the bottom of the inning and make it 9-6 Jays.
The Indians didn’t give up in the late innings. Reynolds’ seventh-inning RBI single and Jason Kipnis’ eighth-inning RBI double put the Tribe within a run of the Blue Jays, and with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth it looked like they might close the gap until Santana hit into an inning-ending groundout. Jose Reyes hustled home from second on Jose Bautista’s eighth-inning groundout to give Toronto an insurance run and Cleveland went quietly in the ninth as the Blue Jays avoided the sweep and sent the Tribe to Tampa with a 10-8 loss.
The Good: How ’bout that lineup? Every Indians batter except Drew Stubbs got at least one hit, led by Carlos Santana who went 3-for-5 with a homer, a double, two runs, and two RBI. Nick Swisher (2-for-3 with a double and two walks) and Mark Reynolds (2-for-5 with a home run) weren’t far behind him, and Michael Bourn (2-for-5) and Jason Kipnis (2-for-5 with two doubles) also had multihit games.
The Bad: Brett Myers—yikes. The converted reliever really struggled in his Indians debut, giving up seven runs (all earned) on seven hits in five innings. Worse still, he didn’t strike out a single Blue Jay and he got hammered for four long balls. It was only one game against a powerful lineup, but yeesh.
The “Huh?”: With the game tied in the bottom of the sixth inning and Brett Myers having already given up six runs, Terry Francona made the questionable decision to leave Myers in the game to face J.P. Arencibia, who had already homered off Myers. Arencibia promptly went yard again to break the tie. My question is: With the game close and Myers so obviously struggling, why wait until after his next inevitable mistake pitch to pull him?
Interesting Tidbit: The Indians have now given up five home runs twice in their last four games—the other being October 3, the last game of the 2012 season.