Brantley, Hayes homer as Indians beat Blue Jays 9-4
CLEVELAND (AP) — Indians manager Terry Francona isn’t big on what he calls artificial deadlines.
That’s why he didn’t overreact to the team’s 7-14 record in April. Francona always believes in turning the page to the next game, which his team did in Friday night’s 9-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
“I always feel like the next day, regardless of what month, let’s go play today’s game,” Francona said. “Normally when you’re looking for those types of things, you need to look for them, because you’re scuffling. Regardless of how many days are in April, if we play well and win, we’re all for it.”
Michael Brantley hit a two-run homer and Brett Hayes added a three-run shot. Carlos Carrasco (3-2), making his first start at Progressive Field since being hit in the face by a line drive on April 14, allowed four runs in six innings.
Josh Donaldson and Jason Kipnis hit leadoff home runs in the first, which was just the beginning of the offensive outburst.
The win raised the Indians’ home mark to 3-8 and was just their second victory in 10 games against a left-handed starter.
While Francona knows the Indians have put themselves in a hole, he doesn’t want his players to feel extra pressure.
“I don’t ever want this place to be a morgue,” he said. “That’s hard for fans to understand. They want to see players grumpy and moping. Believe me, we care, but when they show up the next day, it doesn’t help to mope about last night’s loss.”
“We can beat a lefty,” Kipnis said. “It has been done before and will be done again. Guys were feeling good and things were loose in the dugout. I can’t tell you how much a different calendar month does for a baseball player’s psyche. When you say it turns the page it really does.”
Brantley’s first home run of the season off Mark Buehrle (3-2) in the fourth broke a 4-4 tie. Hayes added a three-run homer in the fifth off Andrew Albers.
Donaldson homered on the second pitch of the game while Kipnis hit Buehrle’s sixth pitch for a home run. The feat was last accomplished last May 14 when Gordon Beckham of the Chicago White Sox and Oakland’s John Jaso traded leadoff homers.
It was the first time the feat occurred in a game involving the Indians since July 16, 2006 when Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore and Minnesota’s Luis Castillo homered.
Edwin Encarnacion’s RBI double and Kevin Pillar’s two-run triple gave Toronto a 4-1 lead in the third, but Brandon Moss’ two-run double and Lonnie Chisenhall’s RBI groundout tied the game.
Carrasco escaped serious injury when he was hit by Melky Cabrera’s line drive against the White Sox last month. He split two starts following the incident.
Buehrle allowed eight runs and 11 hits in 4 1-3 innings. The left-hander won his first three starts, but allowed five runs and 13 hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 5-1 loss at Tampa Bay on Sunday.
The Indians have an opening in their rotation after LHP TJ House was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sore shoulder. Francona said a fifth starter won’t be needed until May 9.
Blue Jays: Devon Travis, Toronto’s second baseman and leadoff hitter, missed Friday’s game after taking a ground ball off his left collarbone Thursday.
Indians: C Yan Gomes (sprained right knee) will travel with the team to Kansas City next week to increase baseball activities.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez, who has yet to work six innings in four starts this season, will go against the Indians. He’s allowed four home runs walked 14 in 19 2-3 innings.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber looks for his first win of the season against the Blue Jays. The Cy Young Award winner is 0-3 and the Indians are winless in his five starts. The Indians have scored two runs or fewer in four of Kluber’s starts.