Indians Can’t Overcome Seventh Inning Blue Jays Rally
Through the first six innings of Friday night’s game against the Blue Jays, Justin Masterson looked like the Justin Masterson we have grown accustomed to seeing. Gone was the Masterson from his previous two starts who had control issues and got roughed up by the Twins and White Sox. In his place, the ace we saw in Oakland on Opening Day and the majority of the 2013 season. He was almost unhittable.
Too bad it was all for naught.
In the seventh inning, with the Indians ahead by a score of 2-1, the Blue Jays began to put together a rally. With one out, Masterson walked Ryan Goins. With Melky Cabrera due up next, and already 3-for-3 on the night, Terry Francona decided to hand things over to his bullpen. It would prove to be a decision the manager would second guess.
In came Marc Rzepczynski to face Melky Cabrera. Like clockwork, Cabrera recorded his fourth single of the night to advance Goins 90 more feet. On the very next pitch, Munenori Kawasaki singled up the middle to score Goins and tie the game up 2-2. It officially closed the book on Masterson as well. His line, 6.1 innings, 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks with 9 strikeouts.
Following the game tying single, Francona went back to his pen. This time reaching for the usually solid Cody Allen. Friday wasn’t his night either. He wasn’t helped by a costly throwing error by Yan Gomes trying to pick Kawasaki off first. After an intentional walk to Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion plated the go ahead run on a 3-2 fastball up near his eyeballs. Allen made him hit his pitch. Unfortunately, Encarnacion somehow found a way to put it in play for a hit. That made it 3-2 Toronto, a lead they would never relinquish., try as the Indians might.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Indians managed to load the bases. Lonnie Chisenhall, who continues to be red-hot at the plate (He’s batting a measly .481), doubled to lead off the inning. Michael Bourn failed to get down the sacrifice bunt and subsequently struck out, as did Nick Swisher. With two out, both Jason Kipnis and Santana both walked to load the bases. Upped to the plate stepped Michael Brantley, the Indians most reliable hitter in these situations. His ground ball to Encarnacion at first ended the rally and the game.
Meanwhile, the Indians scored their only two runs of the game on the first signs of life from the bat of Carlos Santana this season. His first home run, a moon shot to the seats in right field put the Indians up 2-1. With how badly he has been struggling when he puts the ball in play, the home runs was a welcomed sight. His ability to take a walk continues to impress, though. The OBP monster’s OBP sits at .352
With the loss, the Indians record drops to 7-9. They’ll look to right the ship in game two of this three game set with the Blue Jays this afternoon. The first pitch for game two between the Indians and Blue Jays is scheduled for 1:05.