The Cleveland Indians just ran out of time to make their comeback against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first game of a three-day American League Championship Series rematch at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
Down by two runs early and four runs after the third inning, the Indians (17-14) mounted a late rally, but it fell short, as they suffered a 4-2 loss to the Blue Jays (12-20), who until recently, had struggled to string together victories.
The Blue Jays got on the scoreboard twice in the bottom of the second inning.
Second baseman Devon Travis got things going when he ripped a one-out double to deep right field, and after third baseman Darwin Barney grounded out to Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, shortstop Ryan Goins belted a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right field for a two-run home run, his third of the season.
The Blue Jays got another two runs on the board in the bottom of the third inning.
Center fielder Kevin Pillar drew a leadoff walk, and he moved over to third base two batters later when designated hitter Kendrys Morales doubled a 1-0 pitch to right field. Then, first baseman Justin Smoak ripped a single into right field that drove in both Pillar and Morales.
The Indians had chances to push runs across home plate at various points in the game, but came up short in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
In his first game in Toronto since joining the Indians in free agency, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion reached safely on an infield single to shortstop to lead off the second inning, and third baseman Jose Ramirez followed with a single to right field, but left fielder Yandy Diaz grounded into an inning-ending double play.
In the fourth, shortstop Francisco Lindor led off with a single to left field, and moved over to third base when Encarnacion hit a single to left field two batters later. However, third baseman Jose Ramirez short-circuited the rally with a 4-6-3 double play.
Center fielder Lonnie Chisenhall hit a lead-off single to shallow center field in the fifth inning, and after Diaz walked, Chisenhall moved over to third base on a passed ball. But again, a ground ball proved to be the Indians’ undoing, as catcher Roberto Perez hit into a 1-6-3 double play.
The Indians had another chance in the sixth inning when first baseman Carlos Santana led off with a double to deep left field. After Santana moved over to third base on a groundout from second baseman Jason Kipnis, Encarnacion drew a two-out walk.
Ramirez hit a 1-0 pitch from Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman on the screws, but Pillar made a leaping catch while running toward the wall in center field for the final out of the inning.
The Indians rallied in the top of the eighth inning when Perez drew a walk and Santana doubled to deep right field. Lindor followed with a single to shallow right field that brought around Perez. Lindor got caught in a rundown long enough for Santana to come around to score, and was awarded second base on defensive interference.
But the Indians failed to extend the rally any further.
Bauer allowed four earned runs, six hits, one home run and three walks over six innings of work against the Blue Jays, while Stroman and the combination of Danny Barnes, former Indians reliever Joe Smith and closer Roberto Osuna scattered eight hits and three walks over nine innings.