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Cleveland rocks Brad Hand in extra innings to beat Blue Jays

Eli Morgan Revenge Game™, secured

Cleveland Indians v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Former Cleveland closer Brad Hand unrolled the welcome mat for the Guardians in the opener of their four-game road trip across the border, surrendering three runs in the tenth inning to help his former teammates pull away from the Toronto Blue Jays in a 5-2 victory.

Amed Rosario delivered the go-ahead run with an RBI single to score Myles Straw, before José Ramírez added a pair of insurance runs with a two-run blast into the foul pole in left field.

Emmanuel Clase closed it out with a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the tenth.

If you recall, Eli Morgan made his big league debut against the Blue Jays back in May. Pitching under monsoon-like conditions, Morgan didn’t last long, surrendering eight hits, two walks, and six earned runs in 2.2 innings. It’s safe to say he fared better in the rematch.

The first two times through the order, Morgan was outstanding. Prior to the sixth inning, he had only allowed three hits and recorded eight strikeouts in five shutout innings. Morgan was commanding the strike zone with his four-seam fastball and keeping hitters off balance with his slider and changeup. But when Blue Jays leadoff hitter George Springer came to the plate to start the sixth inning, his impressive start took an unfortunate turn.

Springer singled on a first-pitch fastball, setting the stage for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to launch a no-doubter into the stands in left field for a two-run shot, tying the game at 2-2. Morgan escaped the inning without further damage, only allowing a baserunner on his first walk of the game, but his one mistake certainly hurt thanks to the thin margin of error on the scoreboard.

It was not a banner day at the plate for the Cleveland Guardians. They put together good at-bats against Toronto starting pitcher Robbie Ray, but had little to show for it. One of the rare exceptions was Harold Ramirez, who in the third inning converted a nine-pitch at-bat into an RBI single to give the Guardians a 1-0 lead. Oscar Mercado made it 2-0 with an RBI single of his own.

But the Guardians left eight men on base. José Ramírez, in particular, had a brutal afternoon before redeeming himself in extra innings. Prior to his two-run homer, José had come to the plate three times with a runner in scoring position and each time failed to plate a run. Before Harold Ramirez’s RBI single in the third inning, José had the first opportunity to give Cleveland the lead with Myles Straw and Amed Rosario on second and third and no outs. But he reached for a slider at the bottom of the strike zone and popped out to the shortstop.

His next opportunity came in the fifth inning with Rosario on third base and no outs, but José flied out to shallow right field. In the seventh, Straw was on second with two outs when José came to the plate. Old friend Adam Cimber was on the mound for the Blue Jays and got the better of Jose, leaving Straw stranded with a flyout to center field to end the inning.

Notes from the Corner

  • Myles Straw has certainly made himself at home. He had two hits in the game, scored two runs, stole a base, and also saved Bryan Shaw’s bacon in the ninth inning with an over-the-shoulder catch at the warning track.
  • Amed Rosario had three hits in the game, elevating his batting average to a team-high .272. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.
  • James Karinchak and Bryan Shaw had scoreless outings in the seventh and ninth innings, respectively, to keep the Blue Jays off the board and get the game to extra innings.