Escobar (10-8) bounced back from his worst outing of the season to pitch four-hit ball over eight innings and Toronto overcame a three-run deficit to defeat the Cleveland Indians 7-3 Friday night.
“I knew I had to come back strong,” said Escobar, who was roughed up for nine earned runs and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 17-2 loss to Oakland on Sunday.
“I think my changeup was key tonight. They’re a young team and I know young players can hit the fastball. I had to mix it up a little.”
Escobar walked two and struck out four to improve to 7-1 on the road. Jason Kershner worked a perfect ninth.
Josh Bard’s three-run homer in the second inning accounted for the Indians’ runs.
“Then I got mad,” Escobar said. “I made a bad pitch and I knew I had to find a way to stop it right there.”
Escobar retired the next 14 in a row.
C.C. Sabathia (12-8) lost for the first time in four starts. The left-hander gave up six runs and 10 hits over six innings and didn’t get any groundball outs.
“Everything was up and over the middle,” said Sabathia, who walked two and struck out six.
The Blue Jays threatened early before pounding Sabathia in a five-run fifth.
Reed Johnson singled and scored when Bordick hit the first pitch he saw into the left-field stands for a two-run homer, his fourth.
“Bordick set me up,” Sabathia said. “He took the first pitch the first two times up. With runners on base, I wanted to get ahead in the count and he jumped all over it.”
Vernon Wells then singled to right-center and scored on a double down the right-field line by Delgado to tie it at 3. It was Delgado’s AL-leading 120th RBI.
One out later, Phelps lined a fastball for a two-run homer to left, his 14th, for a 5-3 advantage.
“I like fastballs,” Phelps said. “But I don’t like it when that big guy is throwing hard and painting the outside corner with his changeup. I knew I couldn’t hit that anyway, so I looked for the fastball.”
Sabathia did work out of three jams.
He yielded a double to Johnson and walked Bordick to start the game, then made quick work of Wells, Delgado and Bobby Kielty—who came in with a combined 75 homers and 270 RBIs. The left-hander struck out Wells, got Delgado to fly out to left, and finished it by retiring Kielty on an infield pop.
“That’s one tough lineup,” Sabathia said. “In that inning, I was getting the ball inside. I tried to do that later and left them out over the plate instead.”
Sabathia also got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth and started a double play to end the sixth.
Bard put the Indians ahead 3-0 with a three-run homer in the second—a 429-foot shot to right for his fifth of the season and second in two nights.
“It was a 3-2 fastball, the only mistake he made,” Bard said. “He didn’t want to walk me.”
Sabathia came in with a 0.75 ERA in two previous career starts against Toronto. … Wells has hit safely in 38 of his last 42 games. … Escobar had not faced Cleveland since Aug. 21, 2002, when he pitched a shutout at Jacobs Field. … Kielty came in batting .389 (7-for-18) with two homers in his career against Sabathia, but went 0-for-3 against the lefty. … Indians OF Coco Crisp went 0-for-4, ending his 11-game hitting streak. … Phelps has 12 RBIs in his last 14 starts. … Delgado’s four-hit game was his first since May 10, 2002,at Oakland.