GOINS THE HERO IN NINTH AS JAYS RELY ON BULLPEN AGAIN

Edmonton Journal - - SPORTS - RYAN WOLSTAT twit­ter.com/Wol­statSun

The last thing Toronto’s over­worked bullpen corps needed was another long night.

But Fran­cisco Liri­ano was pitch­ing — with­out in­jured Rus­sell Martin be­hind the plate — and pre­dictably had a short out­ing, forc­ing the re­liev­ers to dig deep and do mas­ter­ful work.

Liri­ano gave up seven earned runs in two in­nings Wed­nes­day, start­ing and end­ing his night in ex­tremely poor fash­ion, but the Blue Jays ral­lied twice be­fore Ryan Goins recorded a bases­loaded walkoff hit in the bot­tom of the ninth to win the game 8-7.

The Toronto bullpen held Cleve­land to 4-for-23 hit­ting af­ter the third in­ning and though the vis­i­tors got good work from their re­liev­ers, too, Goins’ third well-hit ball of the evening stood up, giv­ing Roberto Osuna the win and the 13-21 Jays back-to-back se­ries wins for the first time this sea­son.

The rare doses of good news didn’t stop there for Toronto. Jose Bautista smashed a three­run home run in the first af­ter Cleve­land notched two runs off of Liri­ano.

The one-time home run king ended an 0-for-21 slump Tues­day with a sin­gle in the sev­enth in­ning. It was one of the worst droughts of his career. He had not hit a home run since May 1 against the Yan­kees un­til blast­ing his third against Cleve­land starter Danny Salazar — who didn’t last long, ei­ther.

Re­liever Dan Otero could not hold the re­claimed lead, sur­ren­der­ing an Eze­quiel Car­rera homer af­ter Dar­win Bar­ney hus­tled out a dou­ble to knot the game at seven.

Things set­tled down sig­nif­i­cantly af­ter those early fire­works un­til the Jays loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth.

Liri­ano saw his ERA bal­loon from 4.44 to 6.35. The quick exit was trou­ble­some be­cause only one AL squad had used its bullpen more so far this sea­son head­ing into the game.

The Jays were in­ter­ested to see how Luke Maile would fare catch­ing Liri­ano. The early an­swer was “not good” as Liri­ano gave up a walk, a sin­gle and a dou­ble be­fore record­ing his first out, spot­ting Cleve­land a 2-0 lead.

The sec­ond in­ning was fine, but Liri­ano is­sued his sec­ond lead­off walk to be­gin the third, then gave up a pair of sin­gles as Cleve­land knot­ted the score be­fore walk­ing Ed­win En­car­na­cion, which got Do­minic Leone warm­ing up in the bullpen. Liri­ano gave up another RBI sin­gle af­ter pitch­ing coach Pete Walker was ejected by um­pire Vic Cara­pazza for ar­gu­ing a po­ten­tial third strike, and that was that for Liri­ano.

Bran­don Guyer then cleared the bases with a dou­ble off of Leone, but was thrown out as he dove head­first into third.

Now, the sud­denly func­tion­ing Blue Jays will be buoyed by the re­turns of top starter Aaron Sanchez Sun­day and short­stop Troy Tu­low­itzki as soon as Wed­nes­day in At­lanta.

A LOT OF DEAD MONEY

With Kendrys Morales out of the lineup due to his ham­string is­sue, the team had more than 45 per cent of its pay­roll out in­jured (or about $82 mil­lion).

That fig­ure in­cludes Morales, Tu­low­itzki, Josh Don­ald­son, Sanchez (who is a key player, but is not yet mak­ing much), Rus­sell Martin, J.A. Happ and oth­ers.

You don’t of­ten see a team lose so many cru­cial cogs at the same time.

AROUND THE BASES

Right be­fore the first pitch of the game, a leather-lunged fan could be heard bel­low­ing: “Cleve­land sucks.” Some­one also loudly heck­led Ed­win En­car­na­cion for turn­ing down Toronto’s ini­tial of­fer in free agency … Gib­bons on Goins and Bar­ney seiz­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties pre­sented to them due to all of the Toronto in­juries: “Up here, (in the Ma­jor Leagues) ev­ery­body thinks they are an ev­ery­day player. That’s not how it works. Those guys are look­ing for more time to be­gin with so they need to do some­thing with it and they have,” Gib­bons said. Bar­ney had hit .340 with a .809 OPS in 18 games as a starter be­fore Wed­nes­day … Bautista’s home run was tracked at 117.6 m.p.h. off the bat, his fastest on a homer since ESPN began track­ing in 2009.

TOM SZCZERBOWSKI/GETTY IMAGES

Eze­quiel Car­rera smacked a two-run home run in the fourth in­ning dur­ing the Toronto Blue Jays’ wild 8-7 win over the vis­it­ing Cleve­land In­di­ans at Rogers Cen­tre Wed­nes­day night.

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