Indians 4, Blue Jays 1

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TORONTO (AP)—If the Cleveland Indians played like this at home, they’d be well ahead in the AL wild-card race.

Casey Blake and Aaron Boone homered, and Jake Westbrook pitched into the seventh inning to lead the surging Indians to a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

Cleveland is one game behind the New York Yankees and a half-game back of the Los Angeles Angels in the wild-card race. The Indians are 41-27 on the road, compared to 32-31 at home.

“We definitely have to improve at home,” Blake said. “We have the same approach. It’s just the way it has gone this year.”

The Indians have won nine of 11 overall and are a major league best 19-7 since July 31.

Blake and Boone didn’t have an explanation for why they’re so much better on the road.

“You’d like that home record to be a little higher,” Boone said. “Hopefully, we can get a little over .500 at home and keep pushing on the road.”

The Indians went 5-2 on their road trip to Tampa Bay and Toronto. They return home to play Detroit on Monday.

“We’ve put ourselves in a good position going into this last month now. We just have to keep going,” Boone said. “This was a good road trip for us.”

Reed Johnson drove in the lone run for the Blue Jays, who have lost eight of 10 to fall to 65-65.

Blake homered off Josh Towers (10-10) to tie the game at 1-all in the third, and Boone homered off Towers in the seventh to give Cleveland a 4-1 lead.

“Those just happened to be perfect mistakes for those hitters. Those two home runs, they aren’t very good hitters. Nothing for nothing, but they are hitting .240 for a reason,” Towers said.

Westbrook (13-13) has gone 7-1 over his last eight starts. He allowed one run on eight hits, while striking out three and walking one in 6 1-3 innings.

“The way the year started out my goal was to get to .500,” said Westbrook, who was 6-12 at one point. “Now my goal has changed.”

Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his 34th save in 39 chances as the Indians won despite being outhit 8-6.

Towers, who had won three of his previous four decisions, allowed four runs — three earned—on five hits in seven innings.

“It looks like a halfway decent line but the fact that I made four mistakes and they jumped all over them for extra-base hits, it’s just not acceptable,” Towers said. “Those home runs were not acceptable, bad pitches in great counts for me.”

Toronto’s Gregg Zaun and Eric Hinske hit consecutive singles in the second before Johnson gave Toronto a 1-0 lead with an RBI single.

Blake homered over the center-field wall in the third, his 17th.

Jhonny Peralta led off the fourth with a double and scored on Travis Hafner’s double. Hafner advanced to third when Johnson’s throw from right field hit him and trickled into the outfield. Victor Martinez followed with an RBI grounder to make it 3-1.

Boone hit his 12th homer in the seventh, a towering shot into the second deck in left.


Ernie Whitt’s daughter sang the national anthems. Whitt is Toronto’s first base coach. The first 10,000 fans received an Ernie Whitt bobblehead. … DH Hafner has reached base safely in 94 of 105 games.

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