Blue Jays edge Indians 3-2
CLEVELAND — Sergio Santos wasn’t as wild. He was just as worrisome.
Santos retired Michael Brantley on a hard grounder with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to close out Toronto’s 3-2 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Melky Cabrera had four hits and scored Toronto’s go-ahead run in the seventh inning on Edwin Encarnacion’s single before the Blue Jays withstood a shaky ninth by Santos, who bounced back from an awful outing Thursday in Minnesota.
“It got a little hairy there,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “But the bottom line is he got it done.”
On Thursday, Santos threw three wild pitches in the eighth, allowing three runs to score, and he and two Blue Jays relievers combined for eight walks in the inning as the Twins rallied to beat Toronto 9-5 and sweep a doubleheader.
Clinging to a 3-2 lead against the Indians, Santos gave up a leadoff double to Lonnie Chisenhall and struck out Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher — on six pitches. Santos then went to 3-2 counts before walking Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana to load the bases before getting Brantley on a one-hop smash that Encarnacion knocked down before touching the bag.
“Trust me, I’d love to get a 1-2-3 with fewer pitches,” Santos said. “But it’s a long year, and I’m trying to learn as much as I can.”
Santos insisted he didn’t carry Thursday’s effort to the mound.
“I didn’t think about that once,” he said. “The second we left Minnesota, all that stuff was left there. New day. New stadium. New team. New opportunity. That’s all I was looking for.”
The Blue Jays trailed 2-1 in the seventh before Munenori Kawasaki hit an RBI single off reliever Marc Rzepczynski (0-1), and Encarnacion delivered against Cody Allen.
Steve Delabar (1-0), also involved in the eighth-inning debacle at Minnesota, got the win in relief of starter Drew Hutchison.
After the game, Kawasaki was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for shortstop Jose Reyes, who has been out since opening day with a strained hamstring.
Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer for the Indians, who have dropped six of eight.
Cabrera got his first three hits off Indians starter Justin Masterson, improving to 15 for 27 against the right-hander.
Down 2-1, the Blue Jays scored twice in the seventh to take the lead and chase Masterson.
Ryan Goins walked with one out and manager Terry Francona pulled Masterson, who allowed six hits, struck out nine, and remained without a decision in four starts. Cabrera followed with a single off Rzepczynski, and Kawasaki then tied it with his single.
Allen came on to face Jose Bautista, and catcher Yan Gomes’ throwing error to first moved up the runners. Bautista was then walked intentionally, and Encarnacion hammered his single to center, putting the Blue Jays ahead 3-2.
Gomes and Swisher had put on a play to try to pick off Kawasaki, but the throw skipped into right field.
“It’s a hard one to swallow,” Gomes said. “Probably right there it cost us the game.”
Santana busted out of a long slump with his homer in the sixth off Hutchison to give the Indians a 2-1 lead. Santana was in a 1-for-30 slide before he connected off Hutchison, who took a shutout into the sixth with nine strikeouts. Santana had been hitless in his previous 11 at-bats.
Hutchison cruised into the fifth before the Indians finally got to the right-hander. Jason Kipnis beat out an infield single and Santana drove a 3-2 pitch to right for his first homer since Sept. 28.
NOTES: Sidelined since spring training by a fractured rib, the Indians’ Jason Giambi has been cleared to play and is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list Monday, when the Indians open a four-game series with the Kansas City Royals.