TORONTO (AP)George Springer had four hits, including the 42nd leadoff home run of his career, and Steven Matz pitched six shutout innings as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Cleveland Indians 8-6 on Wednesday night.
Springer connected on J.C. Mejia’s first pitch for his 13th homer of the season. He singled and scored in the second, hit a two-run double in the third and singled again in the fifth. Needing a triple to complete the cycle, Springer flied out in the eighth.
”I was groomed to hit first my whole career,” Springer said. ”I understand how to kind of navigate it a little bit.”
Springer is batting .375 (24 for 64) with eight home runs and 16 RBIs in 16 games in the leadoff spot. He also has eight doubles and eight walks in those games.
”He’s really impressive,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. ”It’s fun to watch.”
Springer, who went deep in his first at-bat during Tuesday’s 7-2 win, homered on the first pitch of a game for the second time this homestand. He also did it last Saturday against Kansas City’s Mike Minor.
”He’s a weapon at the top of the order, for sure,” acting Indians manager DeMarlo Hale said.
The Blue Jays have hit 163 home runs this season. Toronto began the day tied with San Francisco for the major league lead.
Corey Dickerson delivered a two-run double in the first, his first hit with the Blue Jays, and Randal Grichuk added an RBI single as Toronto led 4-0 after one inning.
”We’re making things happen,” Montoyo said. ”It’s different guys every day, which is pretty cool.”
Matz (9-6) gave up six hits, all singles. He walked one and struck out eight.
”In between starts I really was trying to get my curveball going,” Matz said. ”Kind of right from the jump there I was able to get that pitch going. The curveball today was the big separator.”
The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA in four career starts against Cleveland.
”He obviously threw the ball great,” Springer said. ”I think he was able to mix and match really well tonight. That’s who he is.”
Mejia (1-7) came in 0-6 with a 9.24 ERA in his previous nine starts, and was immediately behind against Toronto’s potent lineup. He allowed seven hits and matched a career worst by giving up eight runs in 2 1/3 innings.
The Indians scored four in the eighth with five straight hits against left-hander Tayler Saucedo, including a three-run double by Owen Miller.
Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez and Oscar Mercado each hit a solo homer off right-hander Jordan Romano in the ninth. Ramirez’s homer was his 24th, and Mercado’s was his second.
Romano ended it by striking out Austin Hedges with a runner on base.
NEW IN TOWN
Six games into their Toronto return, Matz was the sixth different starting pitcher for the Blue Jays. None of the six had previously pitched for the team at Rogers Centre. The others are RHPs Ross Stripling, Jose Berrios and Alek Manoah, and LHPs Hyun Jin Ryu and Robbie Ray.
Blue Jays: RHP Joakim Soria, who made his Toronto debut Monday, was placed on the 10-day injured list because of a sore right middle finger. The move is retroactive to Aug. 3. To replace Soria, Toronto recalled Saucedo from Triple-A Buffalo.
Indians: C Roberto Perez (back spasms) was scratched from the starting lineup and replaced by Hedges.
Stripling (4-6, 4.75 ERA) faces Cleveland RHP Triston McKenize (1-4, 6.11) in Thursday’s series finale. McKenzie matched a career worst by allowing six runs in his previous outing Saturday against the White Sox.
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