November 26, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
33°F

Blue Jays 8, Indians 5: Tribe hits, still loses

CLEVELAND — The Indians finally hit Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

If only they had pitched, too.

Breaking out the bats for one of the few times this season meant little in the end for Cleveland, which was outhit and outpitched by the Blue Jays in an 8-5 loss that gave Toronto the series with the finale still to play today.

It was the Indians’ fifth loss in six games.

“We didn’t pitch very well today,” said manager Manny Acta. “Finally, we were able to get a lead and we couldn’t hold it. We walked nine guys against a team that is very aggressive.

“I could care less if we score seven runs and still lose. It’s about winning and losing.”

Jake Westbrook was the first pitcher to let the Indians down, lasting just 3 2/3 innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits and five walks.

Cleveland’s No. 1 starter was spotted a three-run lead thanks to a four-run third, but the veteran right-hander couldn’t hold it.

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Westbrook allowed the Jays to tie it with three in the fourth, serving up a two-run home run to Jose Bautista and walking three in the inning.

“I was erratic,” Westbrook said. “I had one good inning. I got a lead and I couldn’t hold it again. That’s kind of been my downfall. It’s frustrating for me and I know it’s frustrating for the team.”

A sore back that Westbrook said has bothered him sporadically throughout the season might have played a part.

“He was tight (Monday) but I can only go by what he tells me,” Acta said. “I’m not going to make excuses for him. He said he was fine.”

Westbrook said the back wasn’t an issue.

“There was a little tightness and soreness in there (Monday) but that wasn’t a factor today,” he said. “I felt good. I just didn’t pitch very well.”

Westbrook, one of the classiest individuals in the game who is trying to make it back from Tommy John surgery, left to a round of boos from the Progressive Field crowd.

He, too, is frustrated by his start to the season, which shows no wins and a 5.74 ERA in six starts.

Westbrook hasn’t recorded a victory since April 8, 2008, against the Angels. He has walked 17 batters in 31 1/3 innings.

“I’m definitely searching for something and command is one of those things,” Westbrook said. “It’s frustrating at it not being there, especially with (how good) my arm feels. I feel like I should be making some progress and I haven’t been able to do that.”

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With Westbrook gone, the Indians found no relief in Jamey Wright, Jensen Lewis and Rafael Perez, each of them allowing at least a run as the Jays forged ahead for good.

Wright allowed the Jays to tie the game at 5 when he allowed a two-out RBI double to the No. 9 hitter in Toronto’s lineup, Travis Snider, in the fifth.

Lewis followed Wright and took the loss after walking three and allowing an RBI double to Alex Gonzalez in the sixth. The walks and the double came after Lewis retired the first two batters he faced.

Perez finished off the forgettable night for Cleveland pitchers by surrendering two runs in the seventh. The left-hander, who hasn’t been effective since the 2008 season, allowed a single and an RBI double to the only two batters he faced before getting pulled.

“Our bullpen picked the wrong day to struggle,” Acta said.

On the positive side, the Indians’ offense showed signs of life for once, with four players — Mark Grudzielanek, Grady Sizemore, Shin-Soo Choo and Travis Hafner producing multihit games.

Grudzielanek, Sizemore and Choo, the top three hitters in the lineup, combined to go 6-for-15 with three RBIs.

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com.