Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista (right) celebrates in front of Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana after hitting a two run homer during first inning AL baseball action in Toronto on Thursday

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista (right) celebrates in front of Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana after hitting a two run homer during first inning AL baseball action in Toronto on Thursday

Blue Jays power their way to win, avoid sweep

TORONTO — The Blue Jays’ brief power outage at the plate is over, judging from a wild and woolly 10-8 win over the Cleveland Indians that saw five Toronto home runs. “Hopefully some people can step off the ledge a little bit,” pitcher Mark Buehrle said dryly after Toronto (1-2) finally found the 2013 win column.

TORONTO — The Blue Jays’ brief power outage at the plate is over, judging from a wild and woolly 10-8 win over the Cleveland Indians that saw five Toronto home runs.

“Hopefully some people can step off the ledge a little bit,” pitcher Mark Buehrle said dryly after Toronto (1-2) finally found the 2013 win column.

While local baseball fans fretted and sports talk shows hosts whipped up debate, the Jays were loosey-goosey going into Thursday’s series finale against the Indians (2-1). The tunes were cranked up in the clubhouse prior to batting practice.

“Two games don’t make your season,” said catcher J.P. Arencibia, who homered twice on the night in going 3-for-4. “No one’s worried about it here. Everyone knows what we have in this clubhouse.”

Toronto also got homers from Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus as the Blue Jays bats came alive.And the home team showed off its newly acquired speed and hustle on the basepaths in the form of Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio, who also provided dazzling fielding.

“That’s just an overall sample of what we can bring to the table when individuals do what they’re capable of doing,” said Bautista, nursing a sore right ankle after legging out a double play in the eighth. “We had some guys hit home runs and some guys ran the bases great. Some real defensive plays as well, we got the clutch hits when we needed them.”

It was a back-and-forth game of long ball with homers, most of them moonshots, accounting for 10 of the runs.

“I’ve always said home runs win in this business, at this level, and tonight’s the perfect example,” said Jays manager John Gibbons. “Yeah, it was an emotional up and down, simply because we were looking for our first win to be honest with you.”

It didn’t come easy. Like a cheap slasher movie maniac, the Indians refused to stop coming at the Jays.

Cleveland outhit Toronto 14-9 and had the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth and the score 9-8 before Bonifacio ended the comeback with a tough throw to first.

“Bonnie made a great play,” said Gibbons. “He showed what kind of arm he’s got. The first thing that flashes through your mind is ’Oh oh,’ but good players make good big plays.”

Toronto scored an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Bautista beat out the double play, allowing Reyes to score — punishing Indian reliever Matt Albers for a pair of one-out walks. Bautista late said he jammed his ankle on the bag.

Closer Casey Janssen pitched a 1-2-3 ninth — with two strikeouts to get the save. He threw 12 pitches including nine strikes and looked nasty.

There could be more drama Friday as the Jays open a three-game series against the visiting Boston Red Sox and former manager John Farrell.

Toronto used six pitchers both Wednesday and Thursday, leaving Gibbons wondering about what’s left for Friday.

“It was a big game to win, to be honest with you, because we’re going to be a little short-handed tomorrow night for sure in the bullpen with that extra inning game (Wednesday) night and the way they were used tonight,” said Gibbons. “We definitely need some innings out of Josh (Friday starter Josh Johnson).”

Attendance was 19,515, compared to the Opening Day sellout of 48,857 and Wednesday’s 24,619. Those in the stands Thursday got their money’s worth.

The game had a bit of everything, from slick fielding to raw power at the plate.

The five Toronto home-run swings produced eight runs, almost tripling the Jays’ three-run output in 65 total at-bats over the first two games. Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds, with his second homer in as many nights, slammed second-deck home runs for Cleveland.

It was a night for the batters, although the pitchers ruled the third.

Starters Mark Buehrle and Cleveland’s Brett Myers (0-1) worked the inning like they had a favourite TV show to watch and had forgotten to set the DVR. It involved 11 pitches in total and lasted just seven minutes, according to one count.

Contrast that to the sixth inning.

Trailing 6-3, the Indians chased Buehrle by sending eight to the plate and scoring three runs to pull even at 6-6. The Jays countered by sending nine to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, homering twice and scoring three runs before Adam Lind flied to centre with the bases loaded.

The sound of bat on ball was music to the Jays’ ears.

Toronto managed just four hits in a 4-1 loss Tuesday and five in a 3-2 extra-innings defeat on Wednesday. Gibbons credited Cleveland’s pitching for shutting down his offence — a theory supported by the fact that the Indians bullpen held Toronto offence to 3-for-27, allowing just one earned run, over the first two games.

But that didn’t stop sport talk radio across the city from debating what’s wrong with the Jays.

One radio host started his show by pretending to talk his listeners off a window ledge. Another show opted to play Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy.”

Encarnacion set Toronto on its way with a three-run line-drive homer in the fifth for a 6-3 lead. A two-run homer by Bautista and a solo shot by Arencibia had accounted for the earlier Jays runs.

Buehrle surrendered back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning before exiting in the sixth. he gave up six runs on seven hits in his Toronto debut, striking out four, walking two and hitting two.

He was frustrated that he got himself in a jam by walking one Indian and hitting another to start the sixth after Encarnacion had given Toronto the lead.

“It’s unacceptable,” he said. “I need to do a better job.”

Steve Delabar (1-0), who finished out the sixth, got the win. Cleveland starter Brett Myers (0-1) took the loss after giving up seven runs on seven hits.

Just Posted

Readers’ Choice Awards 2021
Best of Red Deer 2021: Winners list

Here’s the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards 2021 winners list:… Continue reading

FILE - Albertans enter a COVID-19 mass immunization clinic in downtown Calgary, on May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Red Deer down to 115 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 165 new cases Sunday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Canada head coach Bev Priestman reacts during the women’s international friendly soccer match between England and Canada at Bet365 stadium in Stoke on Trent, England on April 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Rui Vieira
Canada coach Bev Priestman hopes to see improved performance against Brazil

Priestman will likely field a more senior lineup to start Monday

Jimmy Smits arrives at a special screening of “In the Heights” during the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Friday, June 4, 2021. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Jimmy Smits figured he could carry a tune ‘In the Heights’

‘In the Heights’ follows dreams and struggles of Latino community in New York

Actress Devery Jacobs poses for photographs on the red carpet during the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on Thursday, September 13, 2018. Jacobs grew up in the Kanien’kehá:ka Mohawk Territory in Quebec but says shooting her new TV series “Reservation Dogs” in the U.S. felt like “a sense of home. ” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto-based Devery Jacobs on starring in Indigenous-led series ‘Reservation Dogs’

Series to make its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canada paid a premium to get doses from Pfizer earlier than planned

OTTAWA — Canada paid a premium to get more than 250,000 doses… Continue reading

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. HO — Deschatelets-NDC Archives
Calls grow for Ottawa to review settlement decisions for residential school survivors

Lawyer Teri Lynn Bougie still cries when she talks about the final… Continue reading

Most Read