TORONTO, ON — George Springer had four hits, including the 42nd leadoff home run of his career, and Steven Matz pitched six shutout innings as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Cleveland Indians 8-6.
Springer homered on J.C. Mejia's first pitch. He singled and scored in the second, hit a two-run double in the third and singled again in the fifth. Needing a triple to complete the cycle, Springer flied out in the eighth.
The Blue Jays (56-49) have hit 163 home runs this season. Toronto began the day tied with San Francisco for the major league lead.
Mejia allowed all eight runs in less than three innings of work, watching his season record fall to 1-7 and his ERA balloon to 8.75. The rookie also gave up six hits, walked four, and did not strike out one batter.
Cleveland tried to rally late with four runs in the eighth, and José Ramírez and Oscar Mercado each homered in the ninth to cut the deficit to two. Owen Miller (who had a three-run double) then singled with two out to bring the tying run to the plate, but Austin Hedges struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch from Jordan Romano.
At 52-53, the Indians are now under .500 for the first time since May 1, having endured a 10-20 skid since peaking at 42-33 in late June. The club also sits a season-high seven games behind the American League's second wild card spot.
The Tribe will try to salvage a split in this four-game series behind the pitching of another rookie, Triston McKenzie (1-4, 6.11 ERA) Thursday night. Ross Stripling (4-6, 4.75) will start for the Jays.