Indians called in seventh
CLEVELAND — The wind tore through Progressive Field, the rain never stopped and the temperature made it feel more like mid-November than late May.
“It was the perfect storm for a baseball game,” said Toronto second baseman Joe Panik.
The Blue Jays weathered it.
Hyun Jin Ryu regained his control after a rough first inning battling strong winds and a wet baseball and Panik and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. drove in three runs apiece, leading the Blue Jays over the Cleveland Indians 11-2 Friday night in a game called in the bottom of the seventh.
For more than two hours, the teams, umpires and fans endured winds gusting to 45 mph and steady, blowing rain that made outdoor activities miserable.
“That was some of the worst conditions I think I’ve ever seen,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Major League Baseball was hit hard by bad weather to start the holiday weekend as games in Washington, New York, Pittsburgh and Chicago were rained out and one in Boston was delayed before being stopped after six innings.
This one probably should have never gotten started.
“I’ve played in worse probably in Canada,” said Indians outfielder Josh Naylor, who is from Mississauga, Ontario. “I mean it was bad, grass was wet, it wouldn’t stop raining, rain was circling in different ways. It’s baseball.”
Panik connected for a two-run homer in the third to make it 6-2 against Eli Morgan (0-1), who may remember his major league debut more for the lousy weather than anything else.
“I feel bad for him,” Francona said of the 25-year-old, who was recalled from Triple-A Columbus. “I don’t know how you evaluate that outing. I thought he was going to get blown off the mound. That was a really tough task.”
Panik had four hits and Santiago Espinal also had three RBIs for the Blue Jays, who have been playing their home games in sunny Florida but will soon shift to Buffalo.
With Naylor leading off the seventh, crew chief Bill Miller watched two pitches get thrown by Trent Thornton before waving for the grounds crew. After a 36-minute delay — the tarp didn’t come out for 30 minutes — the game was finally called.
“I think the pitcher slipped,” Francona said. “And Bill Miller had come over the inning before and said the minute something happens we want to protect the players. And I fully understand that. It was a difficult night to say the least. “
It was the first meeting between Toronto and Cleveland since 2019.
Ryu (5-2) allowed two runs — both in the first — and four hits in five innings. However, the left-hander shook off a 32-pitch and settled in to win his fourth straight decision. He walked two in the opening inning after not allowing more than one walk in any of his first nine starts in 2021.
“That’s why he’s Ryu,” Panik said. “That’s why he’s our ace. It doesn’t matter the conditions, he’ll figure out a way.”
Helped by a whipping wind which made everything hit in the air an adventure for outfielders, the Blue Jays scored four runs in the third off Morgan.
Randal Grichuk hit an RBI single. Gurriel Jr. doubled in a run with a shot to right that fooled Naylor and Panik crushed his first homer since Sept. 16 into the teeth of the wind, which stretched the U.S. and Canadian flags to the limit on their poles beyond center field.
The Blue Jays added three more runs in the fifth on Gurriel’s two-run double and an RBI single by Panik.
The 25-year-old Morgan was tagged for six runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings.
“Yeah, it was strange,” Morgan said of his first taste of big league ball. “Thankful though, the whole day, I was wondering if we’d even get the game in. So, very thankful for that.”
Eddie Rosario’s two-run single gave the Indians a 2-0 lead in the first. But Toronto quickly tied it in the second on Espinal’s RBI groundout and a flyball to left-center by Danny Jansen that changed direction and turned into a double.
Francona, who picked up his 700th win with Cleveland on Thursday, will leave the club over the weekend to attend his youngest daughter Jamie’s wedding in Newport, Rhode Island.
“I’m wearing a tux,” said Francona, who is still slowed by offseason toe surgery. “I got a brand new boot and everything for the wedding.”
Bench coach DeMarlo Hale will fill in for Francona, who will be back in time for Cleveland’s doubleheader on Monday against the White Sox.
Indians: OF Jordan Luplow went on the 10-day injured list with an ankle issue that has bothered him since spring training. He underwent an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.
Indians rookie Sam Hentges (1-1, 6.20) starts against Toronto’s Ross Stripling (0-3, 5.63).