(Sports Network) - The Toronto Blue Jays can take their second straight series
with a victory Thursday afternoon against the Cleveland Indians in the finale
of a three-game set at Progressive Field.
The Blue Jays took two of three versus the Minnesota Twins before splitting
the first two meetings with the Tribe. Cleveland opened the series with a 3-0
win, but Toronto responded with Wednesday's 5-4 triumph thanks to a three-run
top of the ninth inning.
Munenori Kawasaki brought two runners to the plate with a bases-loaded single
and Emilio Bonifacio scored when Indians outfielder Michael Bourn misplayed
the ball in left-center field. Cleveland did get two runs back in the bottom
of the ninth and Michael Brantley flied out to end the game.
"Great ballgame, it really was," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We took
the lead, they came back and it got pretty hairy at the end, but there were a
lot of good things tonight."
Bonifacio finished with two RBI and Neil Wagner picked up the win in relief.
Esmil Rogers pitched well in the start and limited the Indians to a run and
four hits in six innings. Steve Delabar, who leads the AL Final Vote for the
All-Star Game, got the last out of the game for his first save. The All-Star
Game will be played next week at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.
Toronto will start a three-game series at Baltimore on Friday, but first hopes
R.A. Dickey can pitch the club to a series win over the Indians. Dickey was
3-0 in four starts until Saturday's 6-0 loss to the Twins. He gave up six runs
and seven hits in seven innings and is now 8-9 with a 4.77 ERA in 19 starts.
Dickey, last year's NL Cy Young Award winner, made his Blue Jays debut on
April 2 in a 4-1 loss to the Indians and gave up four runs -- three earned --
in six innings. The knuckleballer is 2-1 with a 3.72 ERA in 10 career games (4
starts) against Cleveland.
The Indians fell back into the loss column on Tuesday and are now 3 1/2 games
behind Detroit for the AL Central lead.
Despite his gaffe in the outfield, Bourn highlighted the Tribe's offense with
three hits and two runs scored. Asdrubal Cabrera went 2-for-4 with an RBI and
a run scored, as Cleveland suffered its sixth loss in eight tries.
Indians starter Justin Masterson appeared to be fatigued in the sixth inning
after throwing 120 pitches and surrendering a two-run single to Bonifacio. The
right-hander did not give up a hit until Colby Rasmus led off the fifth inning
with a double. He then gave up three more hits with five walks and six
strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
"He probably was a little bit tired," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said of
Masterson. "About the last six, seven pitches, and we needed just one grounder
or something, and we couldn't get it."
Rich Hill absorbed the loss after giving up a walk to Rasmus, who later scored
in the ninth. The Indians fell to 2-4 on a 10-game homestand and will play
three straight versus Kansas City this weekend.
The Indians feel the time is right for Danny Salazar to make his major league
debut and the right-hander gets the nod Thursday. Salazar went 3-2 with a 3.40
earned run average in 10 starts for Triple-A Columbus and was the club's Minor
League Player of the Week for July 1-7. He has 49 K's with the Clippers.
"He's getting a lot of strikeouts," Francona said. "He's got good velocity.
He's got all the tools. He's only probably up to 85-90 pitches. We have to be
cognizant of that, especially pitching at a level where you know he's going to
be amped up. But his future is really bright."
Salazar also pitched for Double-A Akron, going 2-3 with a 2.67 ERA in seven
starts. He is expected to head back to the minors after this start and is
taking the place of Carlos Carrasco, who was designated for assignment and
optioned to Columbus.
The Jays lost two of three matchups with the Indians in early April at Rogers
Centre. Cleveland hasn't won a season series with Toronto since 2010.
The Sports Network