Ramirez’s 2-run homer lifts Tribe past Toronto
CLEVELAND — Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona was relieved following Sunday’s 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Jose Ramirez hit a two-run homer off Brett Cecil in the eighth inning and the Indians rallied to win the series between AL division leaders.
“We won two out of three, and I think we had the lead for like 10 minutes,” Francona said.
The series featured three one-run games, large crowds and a playoff-like atmosphere.
“There’s no feeling that I can think of like that,” Francona said. “Your heart is in your throat but you like it. It’s agony, but it’s also awesome. That’s why we do this.”
Tyler Naquin’s game-ending, inside-the-park home run gave Cleveland a 3-2 victory Friday, and the Blue Jays won 6-5 Saturday.
Ahead 2-1, Toronto threatened to break open the finale in the seventh. But Mike Clevinger (2-1) relieved Corey Kluber and struck out Edwin Encarnacion to leave the bases loaded.
Ramirez connected after Francisco Lindor’s two-out single, sending a drive onto the home run porch in left field. Cecil (1-7) replaced starter Marcus Stroman with one out in the eighth.
Cody Allen pitched the ninth for his 24th save in 27 chances. He struck out Ryan Goins and Devon Travis before walking Josh Donaldson and Encarnacion. Russell Martin lined out to right to end it.
Kluber allowed two runs, six hits and four walks in 6 2/3 innings.
Melvin Upton Jr. led off the third with his third home run for Toronto since being acquired from San Diego at the trade deadline. Donaldson, returning to the lineup after missing two games with a sprained thumb, added a two-out RBI single.
Lindor singled in a run in the sixth.
“That’s a pretty good team,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “They’ve got a dynamite offense, great pitching, a lot of speed, and a bunch of switch hitters. They got the best of us and Ramirez just wore us out.”
The switch-hitting Ramirez tied Friday’s game with a solo homer in the ninth. He’s reached base in 27 consecutive games and is batting .377 during that stretch.
“For whatever reasons, he’s able to come through in those spots more often than not,” Kluber said. “I don’t think there’s anyone else we’d rather have up in that situation.”
Plate umpire Ramon De Jesus called time while Encarnacion was batting in the seventh. Clevinger stepped off the rubber and was called for a balk by third base umpire Greg Gibson after time was given, and Goins trotted home from third. After discussions involving umpires, both managers and several players, Goins was sent back to third and Clevinger struck out Encarnacion on the next pitch.
Blue Jays: OF Kevin Pillar (jammed left thumb) could be activated Tuesday.
Indians: C Yan Gomes (separated right shoulder), who has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 18, will make the team’s trip to Oakland and Texas, but it’s unclear when he’ll be activated.
Blue Jays: RHP R.A. Dickey opens a three-game home series against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. Dickey has made a team-high 25 starts.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco, who has a 1.97 ERA on the road, pitches at Oakland in the first game of a three-game series Monday.