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(Ron Schwane)
(Ron Schwane)

Indians sweep Blue Jays Add to ...

The ball sailed high into the sky in foul territory and Jose Bautista, the Toronto Blue Jays third baseman, lost it in the bright sun as he charged over to try to make the catch in the second inning.



Toronto catcher Jose Molina could not get close enough to bail his teammate out and the ball landed between them on the grass giving Shelley Duncan, the grateful Cleveland Indians batter, another life.

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The play was a microcosm of Toronto's wretched week in Cleveland, four games fraught with timid hitting, shoddy defence and, the ultimate humiliation, a four-game sweep at the hands of the lowly Indians.



Cleveland levelled the final indignity at Progressive Field on Thursday afternoon, roughing up the normally reliable Shaun Marcum for six runs in a gaudy fourth inning that stood up for a 6-1 Indians (30-48) demolition of the Blue Jays (40-40).



"Terrible, just awful," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said, summing Toronto's play the past four games. "We played terrible."



And it certainly won't get any easier for the Blue Jays, who will now head into New York for a three-game series against the Yankees that will begin Friday afternoon.



Apart from being swept by the team that ranks last in the American League Central, the setback was the fifth lost game in a row for the Blue Jays, equalling a season high.



It also marked the fourth consecutive game the Blue Jays, who continue to lead the majors in home runs, have failed to hit one out of the park.



The loss dropped Toronto's record back to .500, the first time it's been treading water at that level since May 2.



It was a heck of a way to celebrate Canada Day for the Blue Jays, who wore white hats with red brims to celebrate the occasion.



The Blue Jays should have been wearing all black as they certainly were the bad guys during this series, managing to score just seven runs in total and batting a lowly .217.



There were a couple of more errors, the first by leftfielder Fred Lewis in the fateful fourth when he butchered a single struck by Jason Donald that allowed Andy Marte to score an unearned run all he way from first base.



Bautista only added to the misery in the fifth when he allowed a drive by Matt LaPorta to squeeze past him into left field.



But the real carnage occurred in the fourth where Marcum headed in without having allowed a hit before it all turned.



After issuing walks to Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana to begin the inning, Marcum served up a fatty to LaPorta, who must have bruised the ball he tattooed it so hard for a home run that put the Indians ahead 3-0.



The ball landed in a concourse back of the left field and then bounded over a wrought iron fence before disappearing outside the stadium.



Duncan, the next Cleveland batter, followed that up with a drive that landed almost exactly in the same spot.



It marked he first time all season that the Indians have enjoyed back-to-back home runs and Marcum was reeling.



By the time the inning was through, Marcum had surrendered six Cleveland runs off five hits while also tossing a couple of wild pitches in for good measure.



"Walks," Marcum responded when asked what went south for him in the fourth. "Walks obviously kill you. And it kills you even more when you don't locate a pitch and they hit it for a three-run homer.



"That's something I've been struggling with for the last few starts - walking people. And something, obviously, I've got to get better at."



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