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Blue Jays bludgeon Cleveland in rain-soaked 11-2 blowout

Eli Morgan’s big league debut could have been better

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

There was skepticism throughout the day whether the weather would allow Cleveland to even play Friday night and, in hindsight, a postponement would have been a better result.

The Toronto Blue Jays spoiled the major league debut of starting pitcher Eli Morgan, taking advantage of the monsoon-like conditions and racking up 15 hits en route to an 11-2 rout.

The game ended in bizarre fashion in the seventh inning. Josh Naylor came to the plate when suddenly the umpiring crew decided to send the game into a rain delay, though the weather conditions had, if anything, improved from earlier in the game. But nothing was communicated to the broadcast team, so Matt Underwood and Rick Manning were left to wonder whether the game had been called or delayed. Finally, the stadium scoreboard declared it a rain delay.

The game was apparently called during the break, but again, there was no communication. Terry Francona held his postgame Zoom press conference about 30 minutes into the delay, much to the surprise of the participating media members. Official word came minutes later.

There is not much to be gleaned from Morgan’s debut considering the elements could not have been much worse. With that said, his changeup was not fooling anyone, recording a grim 14% CSW%. His command simply wasn’t there and he barely threw more strikes (35) than balls (30). It certainly didn’t help his cause that any ball the Blue Jays put in the air seemed to baffle Cleveland’s outfielders. Toronto was able to tie the game in the second inning thanks to a flyball to center that would have been an inning-ending flyout if Harold Ramirez hadn’t misjudged it.

The game unraveled for Morgan in the third inning. With two outs and a runner on third, Morgan proceeded to give up a pair of RBI doubles, a two-run homer, and a walk before getting the hook. He finished the night with an ugly line: 2.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 1 K.

Toronto led 6-2 after the third inning, but they were able to effectively put the game out of reach for Cleveland in the fifth inning. Phil Maton surrendered a leadoff single and then a double to put runners on second and third with no outs, giving way to Nick Sandlin. But Sandlin promptly gave up an RBI double to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and then an RBI single to Joe Panik to make it 9-2 Toronto. Two more Blue Jays crossed the plate in the sixth inning thanks to a bases loaded double by Santiago Espinal to give them a season-high 11 runs scored.

Cleveland’s offense all but disappeared after the first inning. Cesar Hernandez opened the game with a leadoff single and advanced to second on a one-out single down the third base line from José Ramírez. Harold Ramirez drew a walk to load the bases, setting the table for Eddie Rosario to punch a double into left center and give Cleveland a 2-0 lead in the opening frame.

Obviously, that lead did not last long. After making Blue Jays starter Hyun Jin Ryu labor through the first inning, Cleveland’s lineup allowed him to settle in from there. Jin Ryu pitched through the fifth inning and retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced, recording six strikeouts on the night.