Indians 3, Blue Jays 2
CLEVELAND (AP)—C.C. Sabathia threw some good pitches and tossed around a few choice words, too.
Sabathia (9-6) pitched seven strong innings and had a screaming match with plate umpire Jeff Kellogg, and rookie Grady Sizemore broke a 2-2 tie with a sacrifice fly in the sixth to lead the Cleveland Indians past the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday night.
Matt Lawton hit his 19th homer for the Indians, who have won three in a row and improved to 15-3 at home in one-run games. He left in the eighth after being hit near the right elbow by a pitch thrown by Justin Speier.
“I was scared,” Lawton said. “It didn’t sound good. It didn’t feel good. I couldn’t move my arm for a minute. But I’m lucky. I should be fine.”
Sabathia almost shouted his way into a fine.
“I yelled, sure I did,” Sabathia said. “What I don’t understand is him running out at me. If I bump him, then I’m the guy in trouble. He tried to get me to run into him.
“I guarantee that if we were outside this stadium, he wouldn’t run up on me like that.”
The 6-foot-7, 300-pound Sabathia’s anger grew as he walked Alexis Rios to start the seventh. He screamed at Kellogg after one pitch and the umpire took off his mask and yelled back.
Chris Gomez hit a sharp one-hopper back to Sabathia that the left-hander turned into a double play.
After Chris Woodward flied to center to end the inning, Sabathia started running to the dugout and nearly crashed into Kellogg, who was 60 feet up the third-base line.
“Here’s what he yelled to me then,” Sabathia said, ‘You’re all over the place—inside, outside.’ I told him that had nothing to do with it, just call a strike a strike.”
Kellogg was gone by the time an attempt was made after the game to get the umpire to respond to Sabathia’s remarks.
Sabathia gave up two runs and five hits, struck out five and walked two to give Cleveland its seventh win in eight games.
Toronto lost its seventh in eight games and fell to 1-2 under interim manager John Gibbons.
“We had some chances, but what are you going to do?” Gibbons said. “It’s frustrating. One of these days, a game like this is going to go our way.”
With the game tied at 2, Sizemore drove home Coco Crisp from third base with a sacrifice fly in a sixth-inning rally that included a bizarre sequence.
Crisp hit a one-out single off Kevin Frederick (0-1). Ronnie Belliard then lifted a high pop behind the plate, but threw his bat, hitting Toronto’s Kevin Cash as the catcher was removing his mask and turning toward the foul ball.
“It hit me in the jaw,” said Cash, who was knocked to the ground, but stayed in the game. “It kind of stunned me.”
Belliard then lined a double off right-center wall, but Crisp didn’t score because he stumbled near third base and landed face-first on the bag. But he scored easily on Sizemore’s liner to left-center.
The Indians missed a chance to add to their lead in the seventh. Travis Hafner drew a one-out walk and Victor Martinez followed with a line double to right-center. Hafner failed to touch the plate, however, and Cash tagged him out after leaping to catch the high relay throw.
“I don’t know if I can explain it,” manager Eric Wedge said of Hafner’s excuse. “Let’s just say that he needs to touch the plate. I told him that.”
Sabathia set down the first 13 he faced until Frank Menechino lined a one-out single to right in the fifth. He later scored on a single by Woodward for a 1-1 tie. That snapped Cleveland’s consecutive scoreless innings streak against the Blue Jays at 20.
The Indians went ahead 1-0 in the third on a two-out RBI single by Martinez off Justin Miller.
Lawton hit his 19th homer with one out in the fifth to put Cleveland back in front 2-1.
Miller gave up two runs and four hits over 4 1-3 innings in his first start since May 30. The right-hander spent more than two months on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring and appeared in relief twice since being activated Aug. 4.
Toronto tied it 2-2 on an RBI single by Carlos Delgado in the sixth and had two runners on when Menechino hit a sinking liner to right. But Lawton made a diving catch and tossed to second base to double off Orlando Hudson and end the threat.
The Blue Jays are 4-15 on the road since July 2. … Toronto is 8-47 when scoring three runs or fewer. … Belliard extended his hitting streak to 12 games with his AL-leading 40th double. … Cleveland is 42-29 since May 27. … Toronto is 9-20 since July 8.