Toronto Blue Jays hold off Cleveland Indians in 12 innings
By AP FeedFoxSports
Even if it took some extra work again, the Toronto Blue Jays aren't complaining about their start.
So they've played 28 innings in two grueling games. So what?
They'd play another 28 more if it meant two more comeback wins.
Rajai Davis hit a two-run double in the 12th inning, Toronto rallied for the second straight game against Cleveland's bullpen and the Blue Jays beat the Indians in extra innings for the second straight game, 7-4 on Saturday.
Davis' hit off Tony Sipp (0-1) gave the Blue Jays a 5-3 lead and they held on to win another extra-inning game between the teams, who set a major league record by playing the longest opening-day game in history - a 16-inning marathon Thursday.
This one was four innings shorter, but ended with an identical 7-4 score and Toronto on top.
''It's definitely a grind, but winning makes it all worth it,'' said third baseman Brett Lawrie, who had three hits and broke up Ubaldo Jimenez's no-hit bid in the seventh with a two-run single. ''You get to extra innings and it was a dogfight. You just have to win it, and we did. People don't understand how tough a grind it is.''
Kelly Johnson homered for the Blue Jays and Toronto starter Brandon Morrow allowed one hit in seven innings.
Casey Janssen (1-0) pitched two innings for the win as the Blue Jays recorded their second come-from-behind victory already after getting 39 of them last season.
Jason Kipnis hit a two-run homer and Asdrubal Cabrera a solo shot for Cleveland, which has wasted consecutive strong starts by Justin Masterson and Jimenez.
Jimenez, pitching for the first time since being suspended five games for intentionally throwing at former Colorado teammate Troy Tulowitzki, allowed one hit in seven innings and performed beyond expectations after a shaky spring training.
''No one is saying every five days he's going to pitch like that,'' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ''He gave us some peace of mind today.''
Edwin Encarnacion opened the 12th with a double off Sipp and went to third on Lawrie's soft single to right. Davis, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the ninth, then lined his double to center, scoring Encarnacion and Lawrie, giving the Blue Jays a 5-3 lead. Davis stole third and scored on Colby Rasmus' single and Johnson added an RBI single.
On Davis' hit, Lawrie scored all the way from first, and the energetic 22-year-old never slowed down until he got to the dugout, where he nearly charged over manager John Farrell.
''I was pumped,'' Lawrie said. ''I scored a big run and I was fired up. We ended up getting a big win.''
Farrell liked the hustle and knew enough to avoid contact.
''I saw him,'' Farrell said. ''He was on a dead sprint right at the bat rack.''
The Blue Jays overcame a three-run deficit in the ninth on Thursday before winning. They only trailed by two runs this time, but evened it in the seventh off Jimenez on Lawrie's two-out, two-run single. Toronto took a 3-2 lead in the ninth on Johnson's homer off Vinnie Pestano.
For seven innings, the teams were locked in a pitcher's duel as Jimenez and Morrow matched each other strike for strike.
Jimenez, who is dropping his appeal for hitting Tulowitzki in an exhibition game, allowed one hit and two runs in seven innings.
Morrow was just as good, giving up just one hit over seven.
The Indians were two outs away from losing in nine innings when Cabrera, rewarded earlier in the week with a new three-year contract, connected off closer Sergio Santos.
It was only Cleveland's second hit, and it came at the perfect time for the Indians, whose bats have been cold even since they arrived from spring training in Arizona, where they also struggled to score. Cleveland is batting just .135 (12 of 89) in two games.
''The offense is going to come someday,'' Jimenez said. ''One of these days the guys will start hitting.''
Kipnis' homer in the fifth ended Morrow's no-hit bid and a scoreless drought of 18 2-3 innings for Cleveland.
Jimenez was nearly perfect for six innings and unhittable for almost seven.
He retired the first 17 Blue Jays in order before walking No. 9 hitter Colby Rasmus with two outs in the sixth. However, Jimenez got out of the inning by getting Yunel Escobar on an easy fly to right.
But in the seventh, a pair of walks and a wild pitch came back to haunt Jimenez, who gave up Lawrie's tying single.
Jimenez walked three, struck out three and gave the Indians their second quality start in a row after Masterson dominated the Blue Jays for eight innings in the opener. Cleveland's starters have given up three hits in 15 innings, posted a 1.80 ERA and held the Blue Jays to a .063 average with 13 strikeouts.
''Winning games is all about pitching,'' Jimenez said. ''That's a good sign for the team.''
A better sign is Toronto's 2-0 record.
Notes: Cleveland and Toronto are the first teams since 1969 to start the season with consecutive games of 12 innings or more. ... Blue Jays INF Omar Vizquel is wearing No. 17 this season to honor his first manager, former All-Star shortstop Chico Carrasquel, a fellow Venezuelan. Vizquel has worn No. 13 most of his career and No. 11 as a tribute to Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio. ''The cycle is complete now,'' Vizquel said. ... Toronto's Joel Carreno will start the series finale on Sunday against Cleveland's Derek Lowe, making his debut with the Indians.