Getty Images

Naquin hits game-ending inside-the-park HR, Indians top Jays

18 Comments

CLEVELAND — Tyler Naquin hit a game-ending inside-the-park homer, sprinting around the bases to cap a two-run rally in the ninth inning as the Cleveland Indians stunned the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Friday night.

This was only the second time – and first since 1916 by Braggo Roth – the Indians ended a win with an inside-the-park home run, ESPN Stats & Info said.

Toronto took a 2-1 lead into the ninth in a matchup of AL division leaders. Closer Roberto Osuna (2-2) retired the first batter, but Jose Ramirez tied it with a home run.

Naquin followed with a drive that hit the top of the right-field wall, above the leap of Michael Saunders. The ball caromed away at an angle and center fielder Melvin Upton Jr. gave chase as Naquin rounded second base.

Upton finally retrieved the ball, but fell down as third base coach Mike Sarbaugh waved Naquin home. Upton flung it toward the infield, and Naquin stumbled home and scored with a head-first dive way ahead of second baseman Devon Travis‘ relay.

The Indians poured from the dugout to mob Naquin. On Thursday night, Naquin lofted a sacrifice fly as a pinch-hitter in the ninth to lift Cleveland over the White Sox.

Jeff Manship (2-1) pitched the ninth. Trevor Bauer struck out a career-high 13 in eight innings

Osuna blew his third save in 30 chances. Russell Martin hit a two-run homer in the first for Toronto.

The win increased Cleveland’s lead in the AL Central over Detroit to seven games. Toronto’s lead over Boston in the AL East was cut to a half-game.

Mike Napoli hit an RBI single in the sixth for Cleveland.

Toronto played without third baseman Josh Donaldson (jammed right thumb) and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (sore calf).

Michael Saunders drew a one-out walk in the first. Bauer retired Edwin Encarnacion, but Martin homered.

The crowd of 30,665 featured several thousand Blue Jays fans who matched cheers and chants with Indians fans throughout the game.

THE CHAMP IS HERE

Until the wild finish, the biggest cheer of the night went to LeBron James, who watched the game from a suite. James led the Cavaliers past Golden State in the NBA Finals, Cleveland’s first championship in 52 years.

ROSTER NEWS

The Indians called up RHP Shawn Armstrong from Triple-A Columbus and optioned left-hander Kyle Crockett to the same club. The Blue Jays optioned outfielder Darrell Ceciliani to Triple-A Buffalo.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Manager John Gibbons expects Donaldson and Tulowitzki to be available Saturday.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez will start for the first time since Aug. 13 as the team attempts to limit his innings.

Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin returns from the family medical emergency list. He flew home to Tyler, Texas, on Wednesday.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

Getty Images
1 Comment

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.