Records: Toronto 10-8, Cleveland 7-10
Abysmal offense and sub-par pitching conspired to drop the Indians to three games under .500. Mark Buehrle pitched a gem, dominating the Tribe as he has so often in the past, and propelling the Blue Jays to a shutout and the series win. Corey Kluber was on his way to turning in another solid outing, but got knocked out before he could finish the 7th, giving up five runs in 6 and 2/3 innings. Kluber's defense did him no favors, though, playing a large role in putting the Indians down 3-0 by the 2nd inning. Playing from behind early, the Indians showed little will to fight back, grounding into two double plays and generally exhibiting poor approach at the plate throughout the game. From the announcers to the fans to the players, no one on Cleveland's side seemed to have their heart on this one.
The first inning started off in circus fashion. With one out Melky Cabrera flied to deep RF, and David Murphy missed the catch by inches. It was a hard-hit ball, resulting in a triple, but Murphy got to it in time and arguably should have made the catch. Cabrera would be driven in by a 100 foot Jose Bautista pop-up in the dead zone of shallow RF, which Nick Swisher also probably should have caught. Advancing on a ludicrous passed ball from Yan Gomes (it was fastball over the heart of the plate), Bautista scored on the first legit hit of the inning, a single by Dionner Navarro. Kluber gave up another run on a Jose Reyes single in the 2nd, but things went quiet on defense for a while after that. Kluber settled in nicely until the 7th, when the Jays would add two more on a Dionner Navarro single, knocking Klubot out of the game.
Unfortunately, things were also quiet on the offensive end. Asdrubal Cabrera lead off the game with a single, but the Indians managed to put together only three more hits against a sparkling Buehrle. No Indians player advanced beyond second base in the first 7 innings. The Tribe's best chances were dashed by double play groundouts from Carlos Santana in the 2nd and Asdrubal Cabrera in the 5th. Buehrle was pulled after allowing a single and a walk to start the Indians 8th, leaving with a line of 7IP, 0ER, 3BB, and 3K. He was replaced by LGFT Esmil Rogers, who promptly retired the Tribe on two ugly K's from Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Swisher and a pop fly by Nick Swisher. Rogers finished out the game for the Jay, striking out two more in the Tribe 9th.
I feel like a bit of a broken record when I say Nick Swisher was once again completely clueless at the plate, going 0-4 with a two K's. He wasn't the only one, though. The Tribe hit almost nothing hard, as Buehrle succeeded masterfully in inducing week contact. Games like these make it difficult to tell if the hitting was really bad or the pitching was really good, but given the way Buehrle has killed us in the past, I'm inclined to tip my cap to him and move on. On the positive side, the Indians bullpen pitched a nice 2 and 1/3 innings, with Mark Rzepczynski cleaning up Kluber's leftovers and Blake Wood striking out two in a 1-2-3 Jays 9th.
It feels a bit like wasted Saturday afternoon, perhaps, but there's nothing we can do but put our heads down, grind, and hope we can salvage the last game of the series tomorrow.
Win expectancy chart
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1:05 p.m. ET (STO, WTAM)