July 22, 2019 10:13 pm

Mercado lifts Cleveland over Blue Jays 7-3

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TORONTO – Oscar Mercado had a triple and a home run to lead the Cleveland Indians past the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 on Monday night.

Catcher Roberto Perez had the go-ahead RBI double in the fifth inning for Cleveland (55-41), backing up a solid performance by starter Mike Clevinger.

Clevinger (4-2) pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and striking out seven.

Tyler Clippard pitched two scoreless innings of relief.

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Billy McKinney had a two-run homer and Justin Smoak added a solo shot to provide Toronto’s (38-64) offence.

Left-hander Ryan Borucki (0-1) made his season debut after missing the first four months of the season with inflammation in his throwing elbow.

He allowed four runs — two earned — over 4 2/3 innings with seven hits, four walks and three strikeouts.

Borucki had a 3.00 earned-run average across four minor-league rehab starts. He averaged fewer than one baserunner per inning in 18 innings pitched.

Justin Shafer, Tim Mayza, Sam Gaviglio and Derek Law came out of the bullpen for the Blue Jays. Shafer allowed two runs in his two-thirds of an inning and Gaviglio gave up a home run to Mercado in his inning.

After a scoreless first inning, Francisco Lindor’s single to centre field scored Jason Kipnis and Jake Bauers for a 2-0 Cleveland lead.

It appeared as though the Blue Jays had forced Kipnis out on an attempted double play on Bauers’s single earlier in the inning, but a video review overturned the call on the field to keep the two Cleveland runners on base.

Smoak replied in the bottom of the inning, launching a ball to centre field for a solo homer.

Kipnis added another run to Cleveland’s lead in the third, stroking a single through the infield gap to drive Jose Ramirez home from second.

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said before the game that Borucki would be limited to 80-100 pitches and ideally last five innings.

Borucki didn’t quite make it, getting pulled in the fifth inning after a two-out double by Perez that drove home Kipnis for a 4-1 lead. Borucki finished with 94 pitches.

McKinney cut the Indians’ lead to 4-3 with a two-run homer in the fifth inning, putting a 95.9 m.p.h. fastball from Clevinger just over the right-field wall to score Danny Jansen.

In the next inning, McKinney missed a sliding catch on Mercado’s hit to right field. It was scored as a triple and gave Tyler Naquin ample time to run home for a 5-3 Cleveland lead.

Shafer was pulled after that, with a team trainer taking him into the clubhouse to be evaluated. The Blue Jays said that Shafer was suffering from right elbow discomfort.

Carlos Santana’s sacrifice fly to deep left field off Mayza then brought home Mercado to make it 6-3.

Mercado piled on in the eighth inning, sending Gaviglio’s fourth pitch of the game over the left-field wall for a solo home run.

Notes: Right-handed pitcher Trent Thornton (elbow) was put on the 10-day injured list to make space on Toronto’s roster for Borucki. … Announced attendance at Rogers Centre was 22,295.

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