TORONTO -- Ryan Raburn came through with a big double in the seventh inning and Cody Allen escaped a bases-loaded situation in the eighth as the Indians survived to secure a 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Monday night at Rogers Centre.
The loss for Toronto didn't impact its 1 1/2-game lead in the American League East over the Yankees, who lost in Boston, 4-3. Cleveland, which has won six straight, moved to four games behind the Rangers for the second AL Wild Card spot after Texas lost, 7-0, in San Diego.
The majority of the credit for the Indians' victory goes to their pitching staff after right-hander Danny Salazar limited the high-powered Toronto offense to two runs over seven innings. Allen then entered with one on and two outs in the eighth and proceeded to load the bases before preserving the lead with a strikeout of Justin Smoak.
"That's the guy. He's done that now for a couple of years. That's when you want him pitching," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Allen.
Toronto's No. 1 starter David Price was saddled with the loss. He carried a 2-1 lead into the seventh but couldn't come away with the victory after the Indians rallied for a pair of runs, which included the double by Raburn. Price was charged with three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out nine.
"We never give up, it doesn't matter how many we are down and or what inning it is," Price said. "We always feel like we have a chance to win and that's good, that's huge. We had a chance in the eighth to tie it up or go ahead and the same way in the ninth. As long as they're doing that, it's good to see."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Allen works out of tight spots: Protecting a one-run lead in the eighth, the Tribe turned to their closer with two away, Jose Bautista on first base and the always-dangerous Edwin Encarnacion due up. That battle didn't go in the right-hander's favor as Encarnacion swatted a double to left field to give the Blue Jays a pair of runners in scoring position. Allen intentionally walked Troy Tulowitzki to load the bases before fanning Smoak to escape the jam with the lead intact. Allen also escaped a ninth-inning scare by striking out Donaldson with two on to record his seventh save of four-plus outs this season. More >
Donaldson delivers: Donaldson stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning and was greeted with arguably the loudest "MVP, MVP" chant he has received to date at Rogers Centre. Toronto was trailing, 1-0, but had runners on first and second with two outs and the ideal hitter at the plate. With the count full, Donaldson came through with a triple to the gap in right-center field to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead. It was Donaldson's first triple since June 27, 2014, against the Marlins.
"The entire battle I was sitting on something off-speed because my at-bat before he punched me out on a splitter," Donaldson said of his approach. "[With a 3-1 count] I recognized fastball pretty early, and I was trying to hit something to right field once I saw that [but fouled it off]. ... I felt like he was probably going to go with something soft right there [on 3-2], and I was able to guess right and put a decent swing on it."
Sands delivers in big moment: After falling behind, 2-1, the Tribe stormed back in the seventh. With Carlos Santana standing on first base, Raburn doubled home the tying run before Sands worked Price to a full count and came through with a two-out, RBI single to give Cleveland a one-run lead.
"We did some good things that inning," Francona said. "Raburn not only taking a really good swing, but following Santana when he comes all the way around and Raburn goes to third. That puts us in a situation to score a run."
Encarnacion extends streak: Encarnacion extended his hitting streak to 26 games with a single to left field in the bottom of the sixth inning. Toronto's slugger is now tied with John Olerud (1993) and Shannon Stewart (1999) for the second-longest hitting streak in franchise history. Former outfielder Shawn Green still holds the record after getting at least one hit in 29 consecutive games during the 1999 season. More >
"When you look at this year, if there's a guy you want up there it has to be him. I think he spoiled everybody around here because he has come through so many times but it was a battle. We kept the pressure on them the last couple of innings." -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, on having Donaldson step to the plate in the ninth inning with the game on the line
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Toronto finished the month of August with a 21-6 record (.778). That's the highest winning percentage for a month in club history; the previous record belonged to the 1984 team that went 19-6 (.760) in May. The 21 wins are tied for the second most in franchise history for any month with September/October 1998 in the lead at 22.
• Encarnacion and Donaldson are the first pair of teammates with 35 RBIs each in August since 1950, when Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr did it for the Red Sox.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians:Cody Anderson will be making his second start Tuesday night (7:07 ET) since being activated from the disabled list. He threw 75 pitches in his first start back, and he will have an increased pitch count this time out. He has never faced the Blue Jays.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marco Estrada will take the mound when the Blue Jays continue their three-game series against the Indians at Rogers Centre. Estrada has surrendered three earned runs or fewer in all but one of his previous 13 starts and has a 2.42 ERA over that span.