TORONTO -- Ryan Goins played the role of hero for the Blue Jays on Wednesday night, driving home Ezequiel Carrera with a single in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Indians, 8-7.
With the win, Toronto has won consecutive series for the first time this season and improved to 5-3 in the month of May. Cleveland finished its three-city road trip through Detroit, Kansas City and Toronto with a 4-5 record.
The game's decisive blow came against Indians closer Cody Allen, who has allowed only two runs in 13 2/3 innings this season. Allen issued a pair of two-out walks against Toronto, setting up the bases-loaded situation for Goins.
"I've definitely kind of played with fire a little bit the last few times out," Allen said. "The walks are killing me. The deep counts are killing me. And tonight, it cost us a chance to win a ballgame."
Goins finished the day 3-for-4 with a walk, capping a strong series that saw him launch a 439-foot home run in the opener while filling in for the injured Troy Tulowitzki.
"I believe in myself," Goins said after the win. "We have a lot of great players in this room, so that's why I'm not an everyday player usually. But when I get my opportunities I want to take advantage of them and things are working out."
Both starting pitchers made an early exit, putting the bulk of this game on the bullpens. Francisco Liriano struggled with control for his second consecutive outing, and gave up plenty of hard contact, allowing seven earned runs in just two-plus innings. Toronto's bullpen put up seven scoreless innings with eight strikeouts, no walks, and six hits.
Danny Salazar lasted only 2 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four. Salazar's pitch count quickly ran up to 69, making this just the third time in 92 career starts that the right-hander has failed to pitch at least three frames.
"I felt like balls were cutting that he wasn't trying to cut," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He was scattering his fastball. … You want to hold them, and we couldn't. I didn't want to get to the bullpen too quickly, but it looked like it wasn't going to get better."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Carrera draws Blue Jays even: Carrera tied the game at 7 in the bottom of the fourth with a line-drive home run off reliever Dan Otero to right field, his third of the season. The blast left Carrera's bat at 104.9 mph according to Statcast™, bringing home Darwin Barney, who doubled to open the inning. Carrera is already halfway to his career high of six home runs, set last season.
"We get to Otero," Francona said. "He throws the one pitch that Carrera [can hit out]. The two-seamer that ran back, and kind of right into his swing. And then, when you're on the road, you're always a pitch or a hit away from what happened."
Kipnis heats up: Mired in a brutal slump (.353 OPS through his first 16 games), Kipnis insisted prior to Wednesday's game that he was close to regaining his rhythm at the plate. The second baseman delivered on those words in the first inning with a two-run double into the right-field corner. Kipnis came through again in the third, when his RBI single helped ignite a five-run outburst for the Tribe.
"[His at-bats] were tremendous," Francona said. "He's one of the best I've ever seen in that situation, where it's first and second. You can bunt. They bring the infield in. He squares around, but then he feels like he's in a position where he can do [damage]. And he took two good swings both times.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Jose Bautista's first-inning home run left the park in a hurry with an exit velocity of 112.9 mph. That is the hardest home run that Bautista has hit in the Statcast™ era. The home run gave Salazar 11 earned runs allowed in the first inning (seven innings) this season. The Tribe starter has given up 10 runs in all other innings (29 1/3 frames) combined. The home run was Bautista's first at Rogers Centre in 2017.
"I'll enjoy it, but it feels even better to contribute," Bautista said. "Anytime I can do that, whether it's with a hit or whatever else, I'll take it. I'm sure that at the end of the season, if I can continue to help the team win games on a daily basis, then it will all be taken care of."
Indians center fielder Abraham Almonte exited Wednesday's game in the second inning after a flyout to right field. Almonte sustained a right shoulder strain on the swing and Francona said the outfielder was day-to-day. After a brief meeting with head athletic trainer James Quinlan and Francona, Almonte was pulled. Utility man Michael Martinez took over in center for Almonte so Lonnie Chisenhall could remain on the bench as a pinch-hitter. Indians catcher Yan Gomes (illness) also left the game in the third inning and was replaced by Roberto Perez.
PITCHING COACH TOSSED
Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker was ejected by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza in the third inning after a trip to the mound. Liriano had just loaded the bases with nobody out to prompt the visit, and Walker was tossed on his way back to the dugout after exchanging words with Carapazza.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Following an off-day on Thursday, the Indians open a three-game weekend set with the Twins with a 7:10 p.m. ET tilt on Friday at Progressive Field. Right-hander Josh Tomlin (2-3, 7.12 ERA) is scheduled to take the ball for the Tribe. Tomlin is 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA in his last four outings and is coming off a strong seven-inning effort against the Royals.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marco Estrada (1-2, 3.14 ERA) will open a series against Seattle at Rogers Centre Thursday night at 7:07 p.m ET, looking to rebound from a difficult outing in which he allowed five earned runs over six innings. Estrada has been a source of stability for Toronto's rotation on the season, however, and enters this game with a career-high strikeout rate of 9.4 per nine innings.