Mitch Talbot had his second straight poor outing tonight, giving up eight earned runs in only 5.1 innings, allowing 11 hits and walking two while striking out a pair, and the Toronto Blue Jays were able to keep the Indians from coming all the way back this time, going on to an 11-7 victory over the Tribe that evened this four-game series at a game apiece.
Jo-Jo Reyes was the beneficiary of Talbot’s charity, moving to 4-7 with a 4.57 ERA on the season, while Talbot dropped to 2-6,with his ERA rising to 6.33. The Indians helped Reyes and the Toronto bullpen, leaving 13 on base and going 6-for-22 with runners in scoring position.
But truly, when you score seven runs, you should win, and usually will. Talbot needs to snap out of his funk soon, or the Indians will have only three reliable starters.
Toronto struck for three runs in the second inning, with the first run scoring on a grounder off the bat of Travis Snider, and with two outs, Rajai Davis plated two more with a single to left.
The Indians got right back in the game in the home half of the second When Jack Hannahan scored Matt Laporta with a single and Michael Brantley made it 3-2 with an RBI ground out, scoring Austin Kearns.
But the Blue Jays began to take firm control in the fourth when Davis drove in his second run of the night with a single, and Yunel Escobar doubled, scoring Davis and making it 5-2.
Toronto knocked Talbot from the game in the sixth. Travis Snider blasted his 2nd homer of the season to right-center, scoring Edwin Encarnacion.
Chad Durbin relieved with one out and one on and Toronto expanded their lead to 8-2 on a throwing error from Hannahan.
Cleveland got a run back in the bottom of the sixth when, with two on and two out, Travis Hafner reached on an error, scoring Brantley.
Octavio Dotel relieved Reyes and retired pinch-hitter Travis Buck to end the sixth, then cruised through the seventh.
Durbin did a decent job for an inning and two-thirds, before Frank Herrmann came on for the Indians in the eighth. With one out, Davis collected his third RBI on the night with a double that scored Snider. Herrmann got out of the inning without any further damage, but a 9-3 deficit looked glum, even for a team that had rallied so late and so mightily the night before.
Shawn Camp came on for the Blue Jays to begin the Tribe eighth, and Hannahan greeted Camp with his third hit of the night, followed by a single from Lou Marson, putting two on with nobody down.
Brantley singled, and suddenly the Indians had the bases loaded and nobody out, and were one big swing away from getting right back in the game.
Then Asrubal Cabrera singled to right for the Tribe’s fourth straight hit in the inning, and Cleveland was within 9-4, and with Hafner due, Progressive Field was coming alive.
Jason Frasor replaced the ineffective Camp and this time Hafner lost the bases-loaded battle, striking out.
But then the other Travis — Travis Buck — doubled to left, driving in Marson and Brantley, and the tying run came to the plate in the person of Orlando Cabrera.
O. Cabrera flied out to foul territory in short right, with A. Cabrera forced to hold at third, and Frasor was one out from getting out of the inning.
With a chance to tie the game, Matt LaPorta grounded out to short, and Toronto had dodged a bullet and still led, 9-6, going to the ninth.
Vinnie Pestano came on for the Tribe in the ninth, hoping to shake off his bad outing on Wednesday against the Yankees.
Unfortunately he didn’t.
With two outs, Snider doubled to right, scoring two with Toronto’s 16th hit and extending the Blue Jays’ lead to 11-6. Pestano fanned J.P. Arencibia to end the frame, but this time, surely, The Good Guys could not come all the way back.
Jon Rauch relieved Frasor to start the Cleveland ninth. Rauch has seven saves, and was coming into a non-save situation — the same way that Frank Francisco came in last night and was chased from the game during the Indians’ winning rally.
Rauch gave up a two-out single to Marson, who went to second on defensive indifference and scored on a base hit from Brantley to make it 11-7, but Asdrubal Cabrera fanned to end it, and the Indians’ two-game winning streak was history.
The Detroit Tigers led at the time of this writing in Kansas City, and if that lead holds up against the Royals, Detroit will once again crawl to within a half-game of the first place Tribe.
Game three of this series will be on Saturday at 7:05, when Josh Tomlin will go for his 11th win of the season against Toronto’s Brandon Morrow (5-4, 4.73 ERA).