Blue Jays 5, Indians 4
Manny Acta endured plenty of losses with the Washington Nationals. His time with the Cleveland Indians hasn't been much better.
The Indians were one out away Wednesday from ending a losing streak and salvaging a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Then his backup shortstop made an error and his closer left a fastball out over the plate.
When Adam Lind's ninth inning two-run homer landed in the bleachers in left, the Blue Jays had a 5-4 victory and the Indians were dealt another stinging loss. But it wasn't the worst of Acta's career.
``I guess you don't know my track record,'' Acta said. ``I've had some tough ones.''
Wednesday's loss will make the list.
Tribe closer Chris Perez (0-2), trying to get five outs for his first save since April 18, retired the first two hitters in the ninth. Following a Fred Lewis double, his third hit of the game, Aaron Hill hit a slow roller to short that trickled between the legs of Luis Valbuena.
Lind's blast on a 1-2 pitch followed and Toronto had a four-game winning streak and its first three-game sweep in Cleveland since Sept. 9-11, 2002.
``It's a routine groundball, I don't have an excuse for that,'' Valbuena said. ``If I make a play, the game is over. Now we lose.''
Valbuena, the team's regular second baseman, has played short the last two days while Asdrubal Cabrera rests a strained left quadriceps muscle. He regularly takes grounders at short, though, and Acta wouldn't use the new position as an excuse.
``A groundball is a groundball,'' he said. ``He played enough shortstop here last year, he just made an error at the wrong time. You feel bad for the kid, but we win as a team and we lose as a team.''
Valbuena was scuffling at the plate, too, hitting just .167 at the start of the day. He delivered an RBI double in the eighth to put the Indians ahead 4-2 with their closer already on the mound.
``I'm totally to blame for this,'' Perez said. ``It's easy to blame it on Luis, but he didn't make those pitches.''
Lind ended an 0-for-19 skid with a single in the fourth before his big blow in the ninth. It was Toronto's league-leading 43rd home run and fifth of the series.
Lind was so desperate for a hit that he recently cut his hair short to try and break his slump.
``A few people aren't too thrilled about that, like fiancees,'' he said. ``But you've got to get your knocks.''
The Indians have already endured plenty this year. They are 1-5 on this current homestand and have dropped five straight series. Cleveland is 5-1 against the Chicago White Sox and 5-16 against everyone else.
``Tough series, tough homestand so far,'' Acta said. ``Nothing is more discouraging in this game than battling so hard for 8 2-3 innings and then not winning.''
Travis Hafner homered and scored twice, but his solo shot in the fourth was just his third of the season and first since April 20. Seven everyday players, including Hafner and former All-Star Grady Sizemore, are batting .220 or worse. Top prospect Matt LaPorta has yet to homer and has one RBI.
Competing against the Cavaliers, the NBA's best team which plays across the street, hasn't helped. The Indians have the lowest attendance total in all of baseball and began the day as the only team to draw less than 160,000 fans this season. The next closest team is the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have drawn more than 179,000.
Half of Cleveland's first 12 home games have failed to bring even 11,000 fans.
``We know what we've signed up for,'' Acta said. ``It's a long season. These guys are going to come around and we're going to play better.''
NOTES: Toronto DH Randy Ruiz wasn't with the team because of a personal matter. He is expected to rejoin the team Thursday in Chicago, where the Jays open a four-game series against the White Sox. Toronto has won three games this season when trailing after eight innings. Toronto has homered 15 times in its last seven games. ... Cleveland starter Fausto Carmona benefited from three double play grounders in the first four innings. Toronto 1B Lyle Overbay banged into two of them. ... Indians C Mike Redmond left the game after the sixth with tightness in his right hip. He is day to day. ... The Indians are hopeful Cabrera can return on Friday.