Reynolds' 11th-inning homer pushes Indians past Jays

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- Mark Reynolds was just glad to get his first hit of the season out of the way.

It was a big one, a home run leading off the 11th inning that gave the Cleveland Indians a 3-2 victory Wednesday and clinched the season-opening series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

"I didn't care if it was a go-ahead homer or not," Reynolds said. "Going to first base, I was like, 'Finally got my first hit, I can relax and play.'"

The Indians designated hitter was 0-for-7 before he hit a 1-2 fastball from Sergio Santos (0-1) over the fence in left-center to stun a Rogers Centre crowd of 24,619.

"A poorly located pitch, and he did his job," said Santos, who was pitching for the second day in a row. "It's tough. Two strikes, I've got to put him away. I just didn't make the pitch when I needed to."

Indians manager Terry Francona said of Reynolds, "He's going to miss sometimes, but when he does that, it's a game-changer, and it was tonight. He can change the game with one swing."

The Blue Jays tied the game 2-2 on a ninth-inning homer by Jose Bautista to force extra innings. Maicer Izturis hit a third-inning homer to account for the other run for Toronto, which has lost its first two games of the season to Cleveland.

"We got the big hit out of Jose to tie it late," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We had a good feeling, but nothing really developed after that. They've got a good pitching staff, they're shutting us down."

Cleveland won Tuesday's season opener 4-1. The teams conclude the three-game series Thursday night.

"Both sides, the pitching was very good tonight," Gibbons said. "This (Blue Jays) team is built to score runs, and we haven't done it yet. But we're going to hit, and that's basically the difference in the games."

Reynolds said, "It's pretty easy to win when you only give up one or two runs a game."

Santos entered the game in the 11th for his second outing of the season after Casey Janssen pitched the 10th in his first appearance of the year.

In the bottom of the 10th, Indians left-hander Rich Hill issued a one-out walk to pinch hitter Mark DeRosa before striking out Emilio Bonifacio. Right-hander Matt Albers (1-0) entered the game to retire Jose Reyes on a grounder to pick up the win.

Joe Smith pitched the bottom of the 11th for his first save of the season.

Izturis, playing third base in place of injured Brett Lawrie, committed a throwing error in the eighth inning that put Cleveland in the lead.

However, Bautista's first homer of the season, a drive to left with one out in the ninth against Indians closer Chris Perez, tied the score.

Toronto starter Brandon Morrow allowed six hits, two walks and one run while striking out eight in six innings.

Morrow helped himself out of a potential problem in the sixth. After yielding successive one-out singles, he turned Reynolds' comebacker into an inning-ending double play. That was his 100th pitch, and it turned out to be his last.

Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez went six innings, allowing three hits (including Izturis' homer), two walks and one run while striking out six.

Indians left fielder Michael Brantley had the fifth four-hit game of his career.

The Indians scored a run in the third. Bourn led off with a double, a slicing drive that hit off the glove of Izturis, who made a reaching jump to try for the catch. A line drive to right and a strikeout took care of the next two batters before Swisher walked. Brantley bounced a run-scoring single through the hole at shortstop, knocking in Bourn.

"He's not a big guy and I think he just mis-timed his jump," Gibbons said of Izturis' attempt on Bourn's hit. "But he also got a big home run to tie it. He's going to help us this year."

NOTES: Henry Blanco will catch knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey in Dickey's next start, but Toronto manager John Gibbons said it was not because of the three passed balls charged to J.P. Arencibia in Tuesday's 4-1 loss to Cleveland. Gibbons said it is a matter of trying to get all the players into a game, and that will be Blanco's first chance. Blanco caught Dickey in 2010 when they were with the Mets. ... Dickey's loss in the season opener snapped his string of seven consecutive wins against American League teams. ... Indians left-hander Scott Kazmir had a pain-free bullpen session Wednesday but will be sent back to Cleveland for an MRI on his right side and will miss his scheduled start Saturday against Tampa Bay. A replacement has not been named. ... Cleveland claimed right-hander Robert Whitenack off waivers from the Cubs and sent him on option to Double-A Akron.
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