CLEVELAND — Almost three weeks, another lengthy rain delay, 15 pitchers, 24 runs, 35 hits and 11 innings later, the Blue Jays and Indians finally completed a game.
Then got ready to play another one.
Yangervis Solarte hit his first career grand slam with two outs in the 11th Thursday, sending Toronto to a 13-11 win over Cleveland in the first game of a traditional doubleheader set up because of April rainouts.
The teams were forced to play two after back-to-back postponements on April 14-15. Then they waited through a 1-hour, 53-minute rain delay before needing nearly five hours to find a winner.
“On the one hand, it’s kind of agonizing to burn through pitchers,” said Indians manager Terry Francona, who used six relievers. “On the other hand, guys keep playing. That’s what we do here. That was a hard game to win, we came pretty damn close.”
In the 11th, pinch-hitter Luke Naile walked with two outs against Tyler Olson (0-1) before Josh Donaldson doubled for his third hit in his first game since April 10.
After Teoscar Hernandez walked, Solarte, who had been involved in several crucial plays earlier, hit a 2-0 pitch into the left-field bleachers. He finished five hits and six RBIs.
Tim Mayza (1-0), Toronto’s sixth reliever, pitched one inning for the win as the Jays bounced back after being shut out Wednesday.
Francisco Lindor homered twice for the Indians, who overcame a 5-0 deficit with a seven-run fourth and were down 9-7 in the eighth.
Before his slam, Solarte’s fielding error allowed the Indians to tie it. Earlier, he was thrown out trying to stretch a single in the 10th and nearly knocked himself out while diving into third in the third.
A team spokesman said Solarte was getting treatment between games and may need stitches on the inside of his lip.
Donaldson, who was activated from the disabled list before the game, hit a tying two-run homer in the sixth off Nick Goody and added a run-scoring double. The 2015 AL MVP had been sidelined with a sore right shoulder.
Russell Martin added a two-run homer for Toronto.
Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco was in line to pick up an ugly win after the Indians rallied from a 5-0 hole. But after giving up a one-out single in the sixth, Carrasco was lifted for Goody and Donaldson homered on the reliever’s first pitch.
It was the third homer allowed in three pitches by Goody, who gave up back-to-back shots in the 12th inning of a loss to Texas on Tuesday.
Goody was placed on the disabled list with elbow inflammation and Francona said he will undergo an MRI on Friday.
With Cleveland down a pitcher, the club called up Evan Marshall from Triple-A Columbus. He was expected to arrive during the second game.
While Toronto improved to 4-0 in extras, Cleveland fell to 0-4.
Solarte got a face full of infield dirt with his awkward slide. Tagging at second on a fly to centre, Solarte attempted a head-first slide that went awry and he dragged his face across the ground before flipping over the bag. Solarte needed medical assistance and a few moments to compose himself before play resumed.
The Indians are likely to soon lose either Giovanny Urshela or Erik Gonzalez. Both utility infielders are out of minor league options, and now that Urshela has completed his injury rehab assignment, the team has to add him to the 25-man roster or designate him for assignment.
NEVER TOO LATE
Because of the rainouts, the teams did not get to wear the No. 42 jerseys as a tribute to Jackie Robinson, who broke MLB’s colour barrier in 1947. So both Toronto and Cleveland wore Robinson’s number for Game 1.
Blue Jays: 1B Steve Pearce was placed on the 10-day disabled list between games with a strained side muscle. He got hurt while striking out in the fifth.
Indians: LHP Andrew Miller (hamstring) will throw a bullpen session over the weekend in New York before the Indians decide whether to activate him. Their bullpen has been a mess without him. Miller is eligible to be activated Sunday.
Blue Jays: Continue a stretch of eight games in seven days with a three-game series in Tampa. J.A. Happ starts Friday’s opener against Ryan Yarbrough.
Indians: Josh Tomlin faces New York’s vaunted lineup in the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Friday. Tomlin has allowed a major league-leading 10 homers in 18 2/3 innings.
Tom Withers, The Associated Press