If there’s one thing the Cleveland Indians can take from Saturday’s 11-9 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, it’s that they trailed by eight runs after three innings but still made it close.
The Tribe’s hitters made the Blue Jays sweat with a five-run eighth inning, forcing the home team to use closer Casey Janssen for the game’s final four outs.
“We made it a fight at the end,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “Earlier in the game we had some chances, too, but couldn’t (come) through. But I like the way we made them bring in the closer in the eighth inning.”
Janssen entered in the game with two out in the eighth and allowed one run before picking up his 13th save of the season, an event that seemed unlikely when Cleveland trailed 10-2.
“When a game gets like that you have to really fight hard to keep your focus,” said left-fielder Shelley Duncan, who hit a two-run home and a single. “A lot of times in blowouts, if you’re up or if you’re down, it’s easy to lose concentration and throw away at-bats.
“I think we have a history, not just this year but last year too, of not throwing at-bats away,” he said, praising his team’s attitude during the eighth. “We did a good job.”
Duncan made the Blue Jays fans nervous in the ninth when he hit a long, high fly ball that was caught at the wall by left-fielder Rajai Davis for the second out.
“I sure was hoping it would but I didn’t think it would 1 / 8go over the fence, 3 / 8,” Duncan said.
The Indians fell behind early after a poor performance from starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who was pulled after 2 1/3 innings, his shortest start of the season. He allowed a season-high eight runs and only 31 of his 64 pitches were strikes.
“Ubaldo didn’t have it today,” Acta said, explaining that the pitcher was behind in the count for most of the day. “He’s human. He had seven quality starts in a row for us and he had a bad one today.”
Jimenez, who dropped to 8-8 with a 5.09 earned-run average for the season, agreed with his coach.
“Everything was wrong today,” he said. “I couldn’t get my pitches over the plate. I was falling behind in the count and then once I tried to get in they took advantage of it.”
Jimenez said he didn’t feel comfortable with any of his pitches during the short outing.
“Nothing felt okay,” he said. “I didn’t have the fastball, I didn’t have the curve, slider, split, anything.”