With a lineup loaded with prospects and callups, it was the Toronto Blue Jays’ longest-tenured player who provided the dramatics on Friday night.
Kevin Pillar hit a solo shot in the 11th inning to give Toronto a 3-2 walkoff victory over the Cleveland Indians. He turned on a 2-1 pitch from sidearm reliever Adam Cimber (3-6) for his 12th home run of the season.
Watch highlights from Toronto’s walkoff win:
“When you’re pitching in a situation like that and you make a mistake, sometimes you go home,” said Indians manager Terry Francona.
The no-doubt blast was Pillar’s second career walk-off home run. Reliever Danny Barnes (3-2) recorded one out for the victory.
Tellez continues to make history
Rowdy Tellez had the statisticians working overtime by hitting two more doubles on the night.
He became the first player since 1913 to record six doubles in his first three career games. Tellez also became the first American League rookie to hit six or more doubles in a three-game stretch since Joe DiMaggio in 1936.
“It’s been incredible, it’s been historic,” said Pillar. “He just seems to be very comfortable in the box. It’s one thing to go out there and drive the ball all over the field, but it’s the way he’s going about his at-bats.
“He’s on pitches, he’s taking good pitches, he’s got a pretty good idea of what he wants to do at the plate. He’s been using the whole field and it’s been fun to watch.”
Did you know? <br><br>Since the start of the 1936 <a href=”https://twitter.com/MLB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@MLB</a> season, ONLY TWO AL rookies have hit 6 or more doubles over any 3-game span. <br><br>Those names are Rowdy Tellez and Joe DiMaggio. <a href=”https://t.co/pbOOP0frsC”>pic.twitter.com/pbOOP0frsC</a>
Carrasco shines in loss
Cleveland, which entered play with a magic number of seven to clinch the American League Central title, fell to 80-61. Toronto improved to 64-77.
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco didn’t factor in the decision despite a strong eight-inning effort. He matched a season-high with 14 strikeouts and allowed six hits, one earned run and a walk.
“There’s probably not a better slider in the game and he’s got a good arm,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. “He attacks. You knew going into that game, if he’s on, there’s going to be some walking back to the dugout.”
Toronto struck out a season-high 20 times on the night.
Carrasco retired the first seven Blue Jays in order before Richard Urena slotted a single through the right side of the infield. Urena was caught stealing on the next pitch.
‘He look like the old [Estrada]’
Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada held the Indians off the scoreboard until the fifth inning, when Jose Ramirez stroked a single to centre that plated Francisco Lindor.
With two runners on, the Toronto right-hander struck out former teammate Edwin Encarnacion to keep it a one-run game.
Tellez hit a one-out double in the bottom half of the frame and moved to third when Ramirez misplayed Pillar’s slow grounder. Aledmys Diaz followed with a sacrifice fly that brought Tellez home with the tying run.
Yan Gomes restored Cleveland’s one-run cushion with a solo shot in the sixth. It was his 13th home run of the season.
Estrada worked six innings, allowing five hits, two earned runs, two walks. He had five strikeouts.
“Everything just kind of fell into place and he looked like the old [Estrada], he really did,” Gibbons said. “Our bullpen was good tonight. It was just one of those games, a low-scoring game, everybody did a nice job.”
Jays’ bullpen provides solid work
The Indians threatened in the seventh by putting two runners on but this time it was reliever Tyler Clippard who fanned Encarnacion to end the frame.
In the bottom half, Randal Grichuk led off with a double and Tellez drove him in with a double. He has six doubles in eight at-bats since his callup from triple-A Buffalo.
Pillar reached third base in the ninth inning after stealing second and advancing another 90 feet on a throwing error by Gomes. Urena flew out to force extra innings.
The Indians loaded the bases in the top of the 11th before Barnes came on with two outs and got Ramirez to ground out.
The Blue Jays outhit the Indians 9-8. Announced attendance was 26,830 and the game took three hours 51 minutes to play