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Guardians take advantage of Blue Jays pitching wildness in 7-1 win

CLEVELAND (AP) — Carlos Carrasco pitched six strong innings and Austin Hedges hit a two-run single when Toronto's pitchers couldn't find the strike zone, lifting the Cleveland Guardians to a 7-1 win over the Blue Jays on Friday night.

The Guardians drew five walks while scoring seven runs in the second inning as Jays rookie starter Yariel Rodríguez (0-2) and reliever Bowden Francis needed 70 pitches to get three outs.

It was the most pitches thrown by the Blue Jays in an inning since June 21, 1995 — 30 years to the day. Also, it was the most pitches seen in an inning by a Cleveland team since pitch-by-pitch tracking started in 1988.

The Guardians were rewarded for their patience.

“It's what we expect,” Hedges said. “Good at-bat after good at-bat after good at-bat. It doesn’t matter if it’s a double, single, walk, moving a guy over. The boys just stay locked into an approach.”

Carrasco (3-6) won for first time in six starts and avenged a loss in Toronto last week. The 37-year-old right-hander allowed one run and four hits, struck out a season-high seven — five straight in one stretch — and didn't walk a batter.

The performance probably won't affect the Guardians' desire to add starting pitching before the trading line, but Carrasco at least bought himself a few more outings.

“That was as good as we’ve seen Cookie all year,” manager Stephen Vogt said.

Cleveland's Steven Kwan, who came in batting .396 while just shy of eligibility to lead the majors, went 0 for 4 and is “down” to .387. He had his hitting streak stopped at 14 games and an on-base streak end at 25.

Kwan did connect on what should have been a single in the second, but Hedges got forced at second on a throw from centre.

“Of course Kwan would lose his hitting streak on a hit,” Vogt said. “It's just funny to me that that’s how it ended. We’re not worried. He’s not worried. He's going to start another one tomorrow.”

Kwan destroyed Blue Jays pitching last week in Toronto, batting .615 (8 of 13) during a three-game series.

Josh Naylor also had two RBIs as the Guardians moved 21 games over .500 for the second time.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered the Blue Jays, who lost their fourth straight.

Toronto rookie slugger Orelvis Martinez got his first hit in his major league debut. The team’s No. 2 prospect, Martinez singled in the sixth, delighting a large contingent of family members in attendance from the Dominican Republic.

Afterward, Martinez posed for photos outside Toronto's clubhouse with his parents, sister and Guardians All-Star third baseman José Ramírez, who stopped to congratulate him.

“An unbelievable feeling," Martinez said through an interpreter. "It was one of the goals I had since I was a kid, to get a base hit in the big leagues and I accomplished it. Hopefully the first of many more.”

Rodríguez's first appearance since April 29 was brief. He had been on the injury list for nearly two months with thoracic spine inflammation before being reinstated to face the Guardians.

In the second, the AL Central leaders took advantage of an outfield misplay, the five walks and an error to open a 7-0 lead.

Naylor led off with a catchable shot to the gap in left centre that dropped between two Toronto outfielders for a double.

Rodríguez then made it easy for Cleveland, throwing nine straight balls and walking three straight to force in a run. He got one out before Hedges ripped a two-run single down the third-base line, ending Rodríguez's outing after just 1 1 /3 innings.

“Kind of uncharacteristic of him,” Jays manager John Schneider said. "He’s not going to back down. Not that he did. He just kind of lost the zone there a little bit.”

TRAINER'S ROOM

Blue Jays: SS Bo Bichette (calf strain) is on track to return from the injury list when his 10-day stint ends on June 25. He fielded ground balls, took batting practice and ran the bases before the game.

Guardians: RHP Gavin Williams (elbow) pitched five innings for Double-A Akron in a minor league rehab appearance. He allowed one run and struck out four while throwing 66 pitches against Binghamton.

UP NEXT

In an encore of a matchup last week, Blue Jays RHP José Berríos (6-5, 3.13 ERA) faces Guardians RHP Ben Lively (6-3, 3.02). Toronto snapped Lively's five-game winning streak with a 7-6 win on June 16.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

Tom Withers, The Associated Press