Eight-run third ignites Blue Jays' victory
Encarnacion belts two homers; Lind records four hits, RBIs
One day after being shut down by right-hander Justin Masterson, Toronto came out firing with two runs in the first and eight more in the third to take a commanding early lead.
Edwin Encarnacion led the way with a pair of home runs, while Adam Lind had four hits and four RBIs as the Blue Jays needed every one of them to survive a late rally and secure an 11-9 victory over the Indians at Rogers Centre.
"When we can do it more than any given day, we'll have a lot of success," said Lind, who now has six multi-hit games since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas in late June. "We have to stay away from the shutouts and things like that, but the potential in this lineup is pretty formidable.
"Eight runs, it takes one through nine to do that. I think we were rolling today, trying to make up for yesterday."
Toronto did most of its damage off an erratic Ubaldo Jimenez, who struggled not only with a high number of walks, but also an inability to keep the ball down in the zone.
With the game tied at 2 in the third, Encarnacion put his team back in front with a two-run shot. The Blue Jays' designated hitter would later add a solo home run to give him 25 this season, which is just one shy of his career high set in 2008 while playing for the Reds.
Jimenez's eventful outing continued later in the third, as Yunel Escobar added a two-run shot of his own. Kelly Johnson then doubled and J.P. Arencibia followed two batters later with an RBI double to chase Cleveland's right-hander from the game.
The pitching change did little to stop the Blue Jays' attack, as Brett Lawrie had an RBI double and Lind capped the third with a two-run single -- his second hit of the inning.
When it was all said and done, the Blue Jays scored eight runs while sending 13 batters to the plate. That represented the most runs Toronto has scored in an inning this season, while the six extra-base hits were just one off a franchise record set on Aug. 2, 2010, against the Yankees.
"The one thing that we didn't do is chase pitches out of the strike zone," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "We took advantage of the walks that Jimenez allowed and when we got some pitches in the middle of the strike zone, we didn't miss them."
Jimenez was charged with eight of the 10 Toronto runs scored in the first three innings. He allowed seven hits, while walking four to surpass Toronto's Ricky Romero for the most in the American League. The eight runs matched a career high and it was his shortest outing since July 30, 2011.
The 28-year-old had been on a roll coming into Saturday's start, but that came to a screeching halt against the Blue Jays.
"I couldn't get my pitches over the plate," Jimenez said. "I was falling behind in the count, and then once I tried to get in, they took advantage of it. It was a really bad day."
The early run support should have equaled a relatively easy afternoon on the mound for Toronto's pitching staff, but it didn't exactly work out that way. Left-hander Aaron Laffey did enough to earn his first victory of the season, but was still charged with four runs over five innings.
Toronto carried a comfortable 11-4 lead into the eighth when the real trouble began. Right-hander Jesse Chavez started the inning and faced just four batters, but surrendered four runs on a pair of home runs. Drew Carpenter then entered and got two outs, but also walked a pair of batters to bring the tying run to the plate.
That forced manager John Farrell to bring closer Casey Janssen into the game. Janssen surrendered an RBI single to pinch-hitter Travis Hafner before getting Carlos Santana to fly out to right field for the third out. Janssen returned for the ninth to put the finishing touches on his 13th save of the season.
Janssen coming into the game was far from expected, but the veteran righty said he wasn't thinking about having the day off.
"You can't ever think like that, because crazy things can happen," said Janssen, who hasn't blown a save since taking over the closer's role. "You're always mentally locked in and you still stretch, you still do your whole routine and you hope you don't have to.
"But, they're a good hitting team and they put a few balls in the seats and made that game pretty interesting."