CLEVELAND – Teoscar Hernandez made the most of his season debut, driving in the go-ahead run with a single off All-Star Andrew Miller in the seventh inning as the Toronto Blue Jays rallied for a 8-4 win over Cleveland, snapping the Indians’ five-game winning streak on Friday night.
Hernandez, who was recalled earlier in the day when the Blue Jays placed third baseman Josh Donaldson on the 10-day disabled list, added an RBI double in a three-run ninth.
Steve Pearce also doubled in a pair of runs in the ninth for Toronto, which trailed 4-0 after two innings but came back against Zach McAllister (0-2) and the normally unhittable Miller.
Aledmys Diaz’s three-run homer helped the Blue Jays tie it 4-4 in the fourth against starter Mike Clevinger, who was spotted an early lead and coasted through the first three innings before running into trouble.
Danny Barnes (1-0) pitched one inning, and three other relievers finished up for Toronto.
With starter Marcus Stroman in trouble from the outset, the Blue Jays looked like they were in for a long night before storming back, helped by catcher Yan Gomes’ two-out passed ball in the seventh.
Pinch-hitter Pearce was on second courtesy of the passed ball when Hernandez, who thought he had struck out on the previous pitch, pulled Miller’s 1-2 pitch down the left-field line.
Miller got ahead of Hernandez and appeared to strike him out on an 0-2 slider. The left-hander even began walking toward the dugout, but plate umpire Gerry Davis called the pitch a ball and Hernandez made the most of another chance.
Clevinger was sharp until the fourth when a pair of one-out walks cost him.
Kevin Pillar cut Cleveland’s lead to 4-1 with a soft RBI single before Diaz tied it with a shot over the wall in centre.
Despite a first-pitch temperature of 46 degrees following a high of 81, the Indians, who got a season-high 15 hits while completing a four-game sweep of Detroit on Thursday, stayed hot at the plate.
They didn’t waste any time, scoring twice in the first off Stroman on RBI singles by Yonder Alonso and Tyler Naquin. Cleveland tacked on two more in the second on back-to-back run-scoring doubles by Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis.
Lindor’s shot scored Rajai Davis, who sustained a cut above his left eye while stealing second on a strange play.
As Davis slid headfirst into second, his helmet popped off and was struck by shortstop Diaz, who backhanded it into the face of Cleveland’s left fielder. Davis was momentarily dazed and his forehead quickly swelled, but he stayed in after being checked by a trainer and receiving a bandage.
Blue Jays: Donaldson went on the DL with inflammation in his right shoulder. He’s had an issue with his shoulder since opening day and the team wants him to rest before it worsens. The 2015 AL MVP is batting .239 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 12 games.
Indians: OF Michael Brantley was given the day off, even though he didn’t want one as the club continues a cautious approach following his off-season ankle surgery. Francona was pleased that Brantley didn’t want to sit. “He was fighting for it,” Francona said. “It was obviously a really good sign.”
Indians ace Corey Kluber struck out 14 Blue Jays the last time he faced them. The two-time Cy Young winner is coming off a 13-strikeout performance in his last start, when he allowed just two hits in eight innings against Detroit. Jaime Garcia starts for Toronto.