Photo: Wikimedia Commons
CLEVELAND (AP) — Travis Hafner hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap the Cleveland’s five-run rally and give the Indians a 5-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night. Hafner hit the first pitch from Luis Perez (1-2) deep into the right-field seats for Cleveland’s second walkoff slam of the season. Carlos Santana also did it to beat Detroit 9-5 on April 29.
Hafner’s 12th career slam made a winner of Tony Sipp (4-1), who yielded Jose Bautista’s 29th homer in the eighth to give Toronto what seemed like a comfortable 4-0 lead.
But Frank Francisco loaded the bases without getting an out. Perez came on and struck out Michael Brantley before Asdrubal Cabrera lined an RBI single to left.
That set the stage for Hafner, who earlier this year hit a three-run homer to beat Seattle 5-4 on May 13.
Indians rookie Lonnie Chisenhall left in the second inning after getting hit in the right side of his face near the ear flap on his batting helmet by an 0-1 pitch from Toronto starter Carlos Villanueva. The Indians announced that Chisenhall, their No. 1 draft pick in 2008, had a facial bruise.
Toronto scored three runs in four innings off Zach McAllister, who was making his major league debut.
Meanwhile, Villanueva allowed six hits in his ninth start since being moved into the Blue Jays’ rotation on May 23. He was looking to improve to 5-1 as a starter after going 8-0 in his final 84 relief appearances since a loss on Aug. 17, 2009.
The right-hander struck out seven and walked two. Both walks came in the first inning, when Villanueva got out of a bases-loaded jam by getting Orlando Cabrera on a routine fly ball to right field.
Nine of the Blue Jays’ 11 hits came from the bottom five hitters in their order as Toronto lost for eighth time in 11 games.
Toronto took a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the second. Aaron Hill walked, stole second and continued to third when shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera mishandled the throw for an error. Travis Snider singled home Hill.
The Blue Jays made it 3-0 in the fourth, when they left the bases loaded.
J.P. Arencibia got an RBI single when his high fly ball to right-centre dropped safely in front of diving centre fielder Grady Sizemore, who was playing very deep and shaded toward left. It snapped an 0 for 18 streak for the Toronto catcher. Rajai Davis later added an RBI single and McAllister loaded the bases by walking Yunel Escobar with one out.
The right-hander retired Eric Thames on a fly ball to short left and got slugger Jose Bautista to hit into an inning-ending forceout. Asdrubal Cabrera deftly turned Bautista’s hard-hit ball into an out by making a sliding backhand stop in the hole at short and flipping to second for the out.
In the bottom half, Bautista, playing third base for only the 10th time this year, made a diving stop behind the bag of a smash hit by Matt LaPorta. He got to his feet and threw from the outfield grass to first for the out.
The good glovework continued in the seventh when Jack Hannahan, who replaced Chisenhall at third for Cleveland, made a lightning-quick stop of a ball ripped to his left by Hill and turned it into an out.
Notes: Before the ninth, Cleveland went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and left nine stranded. … The Indians sent INF Cord Phelps to Triple-A Columbus to make room for McAllister. INFs Jason Donald or Luis Valbuena could be recalled later this week and McAllister sent back, since Cleveland will not need a fifth starter until July 18 due to the All-Star break. … Toronto INF Jayson Nix cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A Las Vegas. … Jays RHP Dustin McGowan (shoulder) pitched two scoreless innings in a rehab outing for Class A Dunedin on Wednesday. He’s been on the disabled list all season. … Toronto manager John Farrell said there is no timetable for the return of RHP Kyle Drabek, 4-5 with a 5.70 ERA when sent to Las Vegas on June 14. Drabek is 1-1 with a 7.02 ERA in four starts at Triple-A. … Veteran 1B Nick Johnson, rehabbing from winter wrist surgery at Columbus, was put on the Clippers’ DL when he aggravated the wrist. Cleveland signed him in March.
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