Following one of Carlos Carrasco's best starts of the season, the Indians lost to Toronto, 3-2, in 11 innings Friday night at Rogers Centre. The Indians are 2-7 in extras this season.
Carrasco allowed two runs and struck out 14 Blue Jays in eight innings, but the game continued well past that until Kevin Pillar hit a game-winning homer off Adam Cimber with one out in the 11th.
The Indians missed a chance to take the lead in the 11th when Yan Gomes singled and Greg Allen walked to start the inning. A botched bunt by Rajai Davis resulted in a force at third. After Jake Petricka struck out Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis walked to loaded the bases, but Jose Ramirez grounded out.
Gomes gave the Indians a 2-1 lead with a two-out homer in the sixth, but Carrasco couldn't hold it.
Randal Grichuk and rookie Rowdy Tellez opened the seventh with doubles. Tellez's fifth double in his sixth big-league game tied the score at 2-2. Carrasco wild pitched Tellez to third, but he kept the score tied by striking out Aledmys Diaz and retiring Richard Urena on a fly ball to the track in left.
The Indians took a 1-0 lead on a two-out single by Ramirez in the fifth. Toronto starter Marco Estrada hit Allen to start the inning. Allen stole second and came around to score on Ramirez's single.
Ramirez entered the game in an 12-for-70 funk and it may be hurting his defense. After he drove in the Tribe's first run, he allowed the Blue Jays to tie the score in the bottom of the fifth when he couldn't handle Pillar's easy grounder to third. As the ball rolled past Ramirez and into left field, Tellez scored from second to make it 1-1.
In the sixth, Luke Maile sent a hard bouncer to third that Ramirez knocked down, but couldn't make a play on. It could have been his second error of the game, but Maile was credited with a hit. On the next play, Billy McKinney sent another shot down the third baseline that Ramirez stopped with a dive, righted himself and threw to second for the force.
It was his best defensive moment of the night.
Estrada, who had lost his last two starts, held the Indians to two runs on five hits in six innings. He worked up in the strike zone and had the Indians hitting the ball harmlessly into the air for most of his six innings of work. Gomes drove a 1-1 pitch over the fence in left for his 13th homer.
Carrasco, in the eighth, recorded his 200th and 201st strikeouts of the season. But he was still in trouble. McKinney reached on a single and Justin Smoak walked with two out. Grichuk sent a hard shot to third. Ramirez made the stop and hustled to third for the force to end the inning.
Rajai Davis tried to get Carrasco the win. He beat out an infield single in the ninth, stole second for the second time in the game, but the Indians couldn't get him home. Lindor lined out to right and Kipnis grounded out to first.
Carrasco, for the first time in his career, has struck out 200 or more batters in two straight seasons.
What it means
The Indians entered Friday night's game trailing AL West-leading Houston by seven games for the right to host the ALDS on Oct. 5. The Astros visited Fenway Park to play Boston on Friday night on a five-game winning streak with a 3 1/2 game lead over the A's.
Estrada threw 103 pitches, 64 (62 percent) for strikes. Carrasco threw 113 pitches, 82 (73 percent) for strikes. Carrasco's season high for pitches thrown is 117 on May 9 against Milwaukee.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and Blue Jays drew 26,830 to Rogers Centre on Friday night. First pitch was at 7:07 p.m. with a temperature of 72 degrees. The roof was open.
Rookie Adam Plutko (4-5, 5.04) will face the Blue Jays and right-hander Sean Reid-Foley (1-2, 5.51) on Saturday afternoon at 4:07 p.m. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR will carry the game.
Plutko is coming off a loss to the Royals in which he struck out a career-high eight batters, but allowed three homers. He earned his first big-league win against the Blue Jays on May 3 at Progressive Field.