Player of the Game
Travis Hafner brought a new meaning to the late inning comeback as he blasted a grand slam deep into the right field seats to win the game in the bottom of the 9th. This, combined with his two singles earlier in the game, earned him a ‘POG’ score of 7.52 and his 7th ‘Player of the Game’ of the season. There is no more dramatic ending to a baseball game than what he just did, taking a 3 run deficit and turning it into a one run win on a single pitch.
The Jays carried a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Frank Fransico was the Toronto pitcher. Travis Buck led off with a single against Frank Francisco. Matt LaPorta doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Jack Hannahan walked on a 3-2 pitch. Manager John Farrell signaled for LOOGY Luis Perez. Michael Brantley was ahead in the count, 3-1, then swung through two pitches. Asdrubal Cabrera ripped a 1-2 pitch to left for an RBI single. With the bases loaded, Pronk stepped in and launched a fastball over the right-field wall. He knew it was gone as soon as he hit it. I have yet to find the last Indian to hit a walk off grand slam when down by three in the 9th. Tonight, we were all witnesses.
In the first inning, rookie starter Zach McAllister worked around a two-out walk to Bautista. Bautista is the leading home-run hitter in the majors since the start of 2010. When the Tribe played the Jays back in May, it seemed he was never worked around.
McAllister gave up five hits and the three runs (two earned). He threw 94 pitches. Not a bad Major League Debut.
The Blue Jays scored two in the fourth for a three-run advantage and had the bases loaded with one out and Eric Thames in a 3-0 count. McAllister came back to get Thames to pop to left. Bautista grounded sharply into the hole at short, where Asdrubal Cabrera turned what could have been a two-run single into a 6-4 force by making a superb grab-and-spin.
After the offense left 9 men on base tonight, the Tribe rallied in the 9th.
Lonnie Chisenhall was hit in the helmet by a pitch from Jays starter Carlos Villanueva in the second inning. Chisenhall exited and was replaced by Jack Hannahan. Villanueva’s pitch to Chisenhall struck the right ear flap and moved across the face. Indians head trainer Lonnie Soloff treated Chisenhall, who went to his knees for a half-minute before standing. The Indians later announced that Chisenhall left because of a facial contusion. Earlier this season at Class AAA Columbus, Chisenhall suffered concussion-like symptoms after a head-first slide. He missed time because of it. I don’t anticipate him missing any time due to the bloody nose.
The Blue Jays scored in the second when Travis Snider drove in Aaron Hill with a single to center off McAllister. The run was unearned because of a rare error by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera.
Tribe batters were 0-8 with runners in scoring position before the 9th inning tonight. They left 12 runners on base Wednesday night against the Yankees.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 5 – Toronto Blue Jays 4