Cleveland looks to stay hot against Toronto

The Cleveland Indians will try to stay on pace as the hottest team in baseball since early June when they visit the Toronto Blue Jays for a three-game series that opens Monday night.

The Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals 5-4 Sunday afternoon to give them a 28-11 record (.718) since June 4, the best record in the majors during that span. The Blue Jays are 15-24 (.385) over their past 39 games.

By winning the rubber match of the three-game series with the Royals, the Indians completed a 7-3 homestand before going on a seven-game road trip.

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The Blue Jays will open a six-game homestand against the Indians after completing a 4-6 trip with a 4-3 loss in 10 innings to the Detroit Tigers Sunday afternoon.

The Indians swept the Blue Jays in four games April 4-7 in Cleveland.

Cleveland will start right-hander Mike Clevinger (3-2, 3.57 ERA) Monday against Toronto left-hander Ryan Borucki (season debut).

Clevinger will be making his eighth start of a season that has been interrupted by stints on the injured list with a back strain (April 8-June 16) and an ankle sprain (June 18-27).

Borucki has been limited to four minor league rehabilitation outings (3.00 ERA over 18 innings at three levels) this season because of elbow inflammation.

Clevinger earned his third win this season when he matched his career best with 12 strikeouts Wednesday in allowing six hits and one run over six innings in a 7-2 victory over Detroit.

The Indians have crept within three games of the first-place Minnesota Twins in the American League Central.

"It's inevitable to be aware of what's going on," Clevinger said. "It's still just taking the same importance each and every day, and I'm trying to do the same thing when I go out there."

Clevinger is 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA over his past three starts after posting a 17.05 ERA in his first two starts off the 60-day IL.

He is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against the Blue Jays. He held them to one hit with one walk and 10 strikeouts in five innings in a 3-1 victory April 7 at Progressive Field. Clevinger has made one career start at Rogers Centre, taking the loss after allowing three runs on four hits with two walks and nine strikeouts over six innings on Sept. 9.

Clevinger feels that he is nearly back to 100 percent. "That's kind of been the big thing just seeing how I bounce back, how the ankle recovers, how the arm recovers," he said. "But it's been really good so far."

Borucki did not expect to be out so long. It was learned that a bone spur caused the inflammation and he had a cortisone injection. "After that, we agreed it would just be a slow process back and just not trying to rush anything," he said.

He was 4-6 with a 3.87 ERA in 17 starts last season as a rookie.

"Obviously, (this) season didn't start the way I wanted," Borucki said. "It took a little bit longer than I thought, but the training staff did a really good job of getting me back healthy. I'm feeling really good, and I'm excited just to be able to help the team out in the second half a little bit, just to be able to play again and pitch again."

Monday will be Borucki's first start against the Indians.

--Field Level Media

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