Toronto starter Drew Hutchison struck out nine Cleveland hitters in a 3-2 Blue Jays win at Progressive Field Friday.
CLEVELAND -- When the Cleveland Indians had a chance to get back into the lead late in Friday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, the bats could not come through with that clutch hit.
And nowhere was that more evident than in the ninth inning of a 3-2 loss in front of 16,335 fans at Progressive Field.
Designated hitter Lonnie Chisenhall started the ninth inning with a double to left field, but Blue Jays reliever Sergio Santos set down the Tribe's Nos. 1 and 2 hitters, center fielder Michael Bourn and first baseman Nick Swisher, on strikes.
Then, after back-to-back walks to second baseman Jason Kipnis and third baseman Carlos Santana, Santos induced a sharply hit grounder to first base from Michael Brantley to thwart the comeback attempt.
"We ended up with the bases loaded and Brantley hitting a rocket to first base, so through it all, you keep playing," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We didn't get a bunt down. We had a strikeout, but you keep playing. If Brantley's ball's a couple feet over, we win. We put ourselves in a tough spot. It's hard to win those games."
After the Blue Jays took the advantage when third baseman Brett Lawrie drove home Colby Rasmus with a slow dribbler down to his counterpart, Santana, in the fourth, the Indians responded with a two-run bottom of the sixth inning.
Kipnis singled to start the inning, and then, Santana worked a full count before taking Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison deep with a 370-foot blast to the seats in right field.
However, the Indians' lead would not last long, as the Blue Jays answered with two of their own in the top half of the seventh inning.
With one out in the seventh, Toronto shortstop Ryan Goins drew a walk from Indians starter Justin Masterson. Then, after the Indians called for Marc Rzepczynski out of the bullpen, left fielder Melky Cabrera singled on a soft liner to left. Goins later came around to score when Munenori Kawasaki sent a single up the middle into center field.
The Blue Jays added their second tally of the inning when first baseman Edwin Encarnacion singled to center field and drove in Cabrera.
The Indians had a chance to answer in the bottom half of the inning, but failed to do so, as they left two runners on base.
"Right now, it just seems like we're all a little rusty," Masterson said. "There's still some kinks we're working out as we go through it. We've had some good starts lately, which has been great. We had some bad starts before that. We've had a few defensive flaws here.
"The offense has been great in the overall sense. They've been doing an incredible job. We're just working out the kinks, having some fun in a lot of close games, but I think you'll find, as we continue to go, there's going to be a lot of great things coming.
"I think everything will come together as we go when it happens. Last year, we were streaky and I think we wanted to even those things out. We're really close. I think we're really close to where we would like to be, as far as everything coming together. I think it will. As we continue, although we lost this game, the momentum is moving in a good direction for us."