Baseball / Sports

Indians can't stop Blue Jays' power game

TORONTO -- For the Toronto Blue Jays this season, there's no place like homer.

And that was not a good matchup for the Indians with Danny Salazar on the mound.

Edwin Encarnacion blasted two home runs, one off Indians right-hander Salazar, and the Jays totaled three as they continued their power surge at Rogers Centre in a 4-2 victory Thursday night.

The Blue Jays took the series 2-1 and claimed the season series against the Indians 4-2. It marked just their third season series victory in the last 11 with the Indians.

The Indians ended a six-game road trip with a 3-3 record. The Indians, 7-14 on the road this season, opens a six-game homestand on Friday against the Oakland A's.

The Blue Jays have hit at least one home run in 18 of their 21 games at home this year. Entering the day's play, their 32 homers at home led the American League and were second in the majors, trailing only the Colorado Rockies with 33.

They finished this night with three, two coming off Salazar in a span of three batters in the second inning.

In that inning, Encarnacion led off with a shot to center for his seventh home run of the season. After Adam Lind struck out, Juan Francisco blasted his seventh of the year to left field.

Salazar (1-4, 5.53) has given up eight home runs in eight appearances this season, spanning 40.2 innings of work. That's the most of the Indians' starters; Justin Masterson is second with four.

But Salazar wasn't the only victim of the Jays' long-ball prowess. C.C. Lee came on to pitch the fifth and surrendered Encarnacion's second homer, a two-run shot to left field that boosted the Blue Jays' lead to 4-1.

Salazar threw 98 pitches in four innings, allowing five hits and two runs. He walked two and struck out three. It was Salazar's second-shortest outing of the season. He went 3.2 innings in his second start on April 10, when he struck out 10 Chicago White Sox.

The Indians also continued their vexing hitting problems against left-handers. They came into the game with a .209 team batting average against lefties this season. They fell to 4-10 in games started by left-handers, including 0-8 on the road.

Jays left-hander J.A. Happ (2-1, 3.57) gave up one run on six hits in six innings, walking two and striking out four.

Right fielder David Murphy put the Indians on the board in the fifth, drilling a 3-1 pitch from Happ into the right field seats. Murphy's homer was his third of the season, his first since April 12. He was coming off a five-hit night Wednesday.

But 24 hours after totaling a season-high 22 hits, the Indians mounted few serious threats.

Facing right-hander Steve Delabar in the eighth, Ryan Raburn led off with a double and Carlos Santana walked. After Asdrubal Cabrera lined out to right and pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall flied out to center, Yan Gomes singled up the middle to close the gap to 4-2. Left-hander Aaron Loup came on to face Murphy, who took a called third strike.

Indians manager Terry Francona lost a challenge in the bottom of the fifth when the Indians questioned whether Brett Lawrie touched first base on a double to center.

Indians' infielder Jesus Aguilar was called up from Triple-A Columbus and made his major league debut. Batting sixth in the order as the designated hitter, Aguilar went 0-for-2, walking in his first plate appearance.

Two suites on the first base line filled with 40 friends and family members of John Axford saw the Port Dover, Ontario native pitch for the second time in the series. After losing his job as closer last weekend, Axford came on with one on and two out in the seventh and also faced two men in the eighth. He slammed down the rosin bag after issuing a one-out walk to Jose Reyes in the eighth as Francona went to Cody Allen.

Growing up a Blue Jays' fan, Axford hadn't been to Rogers Centre since he threw for Team Ontario in an exhibition game when he was 16 or 17.

(c)2014 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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