Indians Outlast Blue Jays Following 19-inning Affair
The Canada Day fireworks came early on Friday afternoon at the Rogers Centre.
As such, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion were long gone — they could have showered, had dinner and returned to the park — by the time the Jays and Cleveland Indians were done playing baseball.
Ejected in the first inning, Encarnacion and Gibbons missed almost all of the 19-inning marathon.
It ended 2-1 in favour of the Indians, with the victory coming after Carlos Santana led off the 19th with a solo home run off infielder Darwin Barney (0-1).
That’s right, Barney, who became the 10th position player to pitch for the Jays. An inning earlier, it was Ryan Goins toeing the mound after the Jays exhausted the bullpen.
The game, which lasted six hours 13 minutes, tied the longest in Jays history in innings. On Aug. 10, 2014, Toronto beat Detroit in 19 innings at the Rogers Centre.
The Jays had their chances to win on several occasions, as did the visitors.
Toronto loaded the bases on reliever Joba Chamberlain in the 14th inning, but with two out, Josh Donaldson grounded weakly to first base.
In the 15th, Bo Schultz got Mike Napoli to hit into a double play, stranding Jason Kipnis at third base.
The 16th inning saw the first two Indians reach base. Schultz then got the next three batters out, with Chris Gimenez lining out to Donaldson to end the threat.
In their half of the 16th, the Jays could not score after Troy Tulowitzki had advanced to third and there was one out. With Trevor Bauer (7-2) pitching, Barney popped out to shallow centre and Ezequiel Carrera struck out looking.
Schultz, pitching through pain, got through the 17th, facing four Cleveland hitters.
And that was it for the bullpen.
When Goins took to the mound in the 18th, the fans still in the stadium loved it and stood and cheered to show their support. The Indians loaded the bases, but Goins got Gimenez to hit into a double play to end the inning. As he trotted off the field, the stadium was louder than it had been to that point.
Encarnacion was ejected after he was called out on strikes by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza. Encarnacion didn’t like the third-strike call, argued, and was tossed.
Encarnacion might have bumped Carapazza, so a suspension could be coming.
The Encarnacion ejection brought out an irate John Gibbons. He didn’t last long either, and was thrown out for the sixth time this season when he got in Carapazza’s face.
Donaldson, the batter before Encarnacion, also was upset after he struck out.
That pattern followed throughout the game, as several Jays demonstrated displeasure when they were called out on strikes.
It culminated in the 13th inning, when Russell Martin struck out and had words for Carapazza. Martin lost it and had to be held back from the umpire by bench coach DeMarlo Hale after being ejected.
Thanks to the irregular strike zone apparently favoured by Carapazza, many of the 45,825 fans in attendance grew frustrated as the afternoon wore on. Mock cheers and boos became part of the holiday festivities.
The Indians, meanwhile, endured to win their 14th in a row, setting a franchise record.
Jays starter Marcus Stroman needed a strong start to find a way back to consistency and he delivered, allowing five hits and one earned run in 6 2/3 innings. Stroman, who had a 7.54 ERA in his previous eight starts, struck out six Indians and walked one.
The Jays’ bullpen has been a source of negativity this season, but the relievers were excellent on Friday.
Stroman gave way to Brett Cecil with two out in the seventh and the bases loaded. Cecil got Kipnis to fly out to centrefielder Kevin Pillar.
Jason Grilli pitched the eighth, retiring the Indians in order on a ground ball and two strikeouts.
In the ninth, Roberto Osuna gave up one hit and recorded one strikeout.
Reliever Joe Biagini hit some trouble in the 10th. With Kipnis on second, representing the go-ahead run, and Napoli on first, Jose Ramirez hit a sharp liner to shallow left-centre. Pillar, as is his habit, appeared out of nowhere after getting a great jump on the ball and dived to make a catch.
Jesse Chavez entered the game in the 11th and was stellar, retiring all nine batters he faced in three innings.
Drew Storen allowed two hits in 1 1/3 innings of relief before Schultz entered the game in the 15th.
Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin carried a 9-1 record into the game and also was effective.
Tomlin scattered seven hits in six innings, gave up one earned run, struck out eight and walked two.
Toronto had coughed up earlier chances to score and finally got on the scoreboard with two out in the sixth inning when Smoak hit a solo home run off Tomlin to left centre, tying the game 1-1.
It was Smoak’s eighth homer of 2016 and 100th of his major-league career, and came on the first pitch of the at-bat. In his previous 18 at-bats, Smoak had been hitless.
Cleveland took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI single by Kipnis.