CLEVELAND -- The Indians returned to Cleveland desperately needing a victory after beginning their second half with a 1-5 West Coast road trip. The Tribe did just that in the series opener against the Blue Jays on Friday night at Progressive Field, scoring 12 unanswered runs to win, 13-3, behind
CLEVELAND -- The Indians returned to Cleveland desperately needing a victory after beginning their second half with a 1-5 West Coast road trip. The Tribe did just that in the series opener against the Blue Jays on Friday night at Progressive Field, scoring 12 unanswered runs to win, 13-3, behind a four-run fifth inning and an eight-run seventh.
Edwin Encarnacion finished with three hits and four RBIs, including a solo homer and the go-ahead two-run double in the fifth. Abraham Almonte connected for a three-run homer in the seventh, and Bradley Zimmer drove in two with a single. Erik Gonzalez, Jose Ramirez and Carlos Santana added RBI knocks.
"We were playing from a deficit and so many times that's been really difficult for us," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Tonight, not only did we come back, but then we spread it out. That's a good way to play."
Although he issued four walks, Indians starter Trevor Bauer picked up his eighth win after allowing three runs on six hits while striking out six in five innings. Relievers Bryan Shaw, Dan Otero and Ryan Merritt combined for four shutout innings of relief.
"Lot of deep counts. Lot of deep counts," Francona said of Bauer. "Was it three leadoff doubles and he's trying to pitch around that? But it just seemed like it was 3-1, 3-2 on so many hitters. Stuff was good. You look up after five and he's at like close to 110. That makes it hard going around that next time in the lineup."
Five of Cleveland's runs were charged to Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada, who was handed his seventh loss. He went 4 2/3 innings, giving up six hits, three walks and striking out three. He is now 0-5 with a 9.51 ERA since the start of June.
Kendrys Morales plated the first run of the game with an RBI single and Justin Smoak added an RBI double in the fifth for the Blue Jays. Ryan Goins drove in Ezequiel Carrera with a sacrifice fly in the second inning.
"First few innings I was focused, locked in, making really good pitches," said Estrada, who allowed four runs in the fifth. "Then it all just kind of fell apart. All I can do is keep working hard. I shouldn't be getting tired by the fifth inning but I tried so hard today, maybe that's what it was and I just ran out of gas early on. I'm only trying to because I want to do well for the team, for the city, for everybody."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
EE's dagger caps four-run fifth: With the Indians trailing 3-1 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, the Tribe sent nine to the plate and scored four times to take the lead. After the Indians tied it, 3-3, with Gonzalez's RBI single and Michael Brantley's RBI fielder's choice, Encarnacion stepped to the plate with runners at the corners. Following Brantley's steal of second, Encarnacion drove a 3-2 changeup to the gap in left-center to score two and give the Indians the lead for good.
"Oh yeah. Oh yeah," Francona said when asked about the importance of Encarnacion's double. "I mean getting it tied is good. And then when you get that lead, all of a sudden you're going to Shaw and potentially Andrew [Miller]."
Almonte breaks it open: After five of the first six hitters reached to start the bottom of the seventh -- resulting in three runs -- Almonte broke the game open against reliever Jeff Beliveau. Almonte connected on a 1-0 four-seamer middle-in from Beliveau and drove it to the seats in right to make it an 11-3 ballgame. Per Statcast™, Almonte's home run had an exit velocity of 100 mph and traveled a projected 395 feet. The Indians scored twice more before the frame was through.
"Hopefully we can string that approach and that intensity as a team together for multiple games," Bauer said, "because that's what it takes to win consistently."
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"I mean I always try to give my best no matter who we're playing against, but thank God I was able to have a good game against my ex-team."
-- Encarnacion, on his big game
"Many a time. Thanks for reminding me."
-- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, on having seen these type of performances from Encarnacion before
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Toronto has been outscored 123-66 in July. The Blue Jays have allowed the opposition to reach double digits in scoring 12 times this season.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marcus Stroman (9-5, 3.10) will take the mound for Toronto when this series against the Indians continues at 7:10 p.m. ET Saturday at Progressive Field. Stroman has allowed three earned runs or less in eight of his last nine starts and his 3.10 ERA ranks fifth in the American League among qualified starters.
Indians: The Indians will activate Danny Salazar (3-5, 5.40 ERA) from the disabled list to start Saturday's matchup. The right-hander will make his first start since May 27, and his first appearance since June 3, as he has been sidelined since June 4 with a right shoulder injury.
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William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland who covered the Indians on Friday.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.