Blue Jays 13 Indians 11 (11 innings)
CLEVELAND — Yangervis Solarte hit his first career grand slam with two outs in the 11th inning Thursday to send the Toronto Blue Jays to a 13-11 win over the Cleveland Indians in the first game of a traditional doubleheader set up because of April rainouts.
The teams were forced to play two after back-to-back postponements on April 14-15. Then they waited through a 1-hour, 53-minute rain delay before the doubleheader opener.
In the 11th, pinch-hitter Luke Naile walked with two outs against Tyler Olson (0-1) before Josh Donaldson doubled for his third hit in his first game since April 10.
After Teoscar Hernandez walked, Solarte, who had been involved in several crucial plays earlier, hit a 2-0 pitch into the left-field bleachers. He finished five hits and six RBIs.
Tim Mayza (1-0), Toronto’s sixth reliever, pitched one inning for the win as the Jays bounced back after being shut out Wednesday.
Francisco Lindor homered twice for the Indians, who overcame a 5-0 deficit with a seven-run fourth and were down 9-7 in the eighth.
Before his slam, Solarte’s fielding error allowed the Indians to tie it. Earlier, he was thrown out trying to stretch a single in the 10th and nearly knocked himself out while diving into third in the third.
Donaldson, who was activated from the disabled list before the game, hit a tying two-run homer in the sixth off Nick Goody and added a run-scoring double. The 2015 AL MVP had been sidelined with a sore right shoulder.
Russell Martin added a two-run homer for Toronto.
Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco was in line to pick up an ugly win after the Indians rallied from a 5-0 hole. But after giving up a one-out single in the sixth, Carrasco was lifted for Goody and Donaldson homered on the reliever’s first pitch.
It was the third homer allowed in three pitches by Goody, who gave up back-to-back shots in the 12th inning of a loss to Texas on Tuesday.
Goody later left in the seventh with what the Indians said was an elbow injury.
Solarte got a face full of infield dirt with his awkward slide. Tagging at second on a fly to centre, Solarte attempted a head-first slide that went awry and he dragged his face across the ground before flipping over the bag. Solarte needed medical assistance and a few moments to compose himself before play resumed.
The Indians are likely to soon lose either Giovanny Urshela or Erik Gonzalez. Both utility infielders are out of minor league options, and now that Urshela has completed his injury rehab assignment, the team has to add him to the 25-man roster or designate him for assignment.
NEVER TOO LATE
Because of the rainouts, the teams did not get to wear the No. 42 jerseys as a tribute to Jackie Robinson, who broke MLB’s colour barrier in 1947. So both Toronto and Cleveland wore Robinson’s number for Game 1.
Blue Jays: Donaldson’s activation was one of several pregame moves for Toronto. First baseman Justin Smoak, who leads the club with 18 RBIs, was placed on the paternity list.
Indians: LHP Andrew Miller (hamstring) will throw a bullpen session over the weekend in New York before the Indians decide to activate him. Their bullpen has been a mess without him. Miller is eligible to be activated Sunday.
Blue Jays: Continue a stretch of eight games in seven days with a three-game series in Tampa. J.A. Happ starts Friday’s opener against Ryan Yarbrough.
Indians: Josh Tomlin faces New York’s vaunted lineup in the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Friday. Tomlin has allowed a major league-leading 10 homers in 18 2/3 innings.