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Cleveland (52-36)000000000030
Toronto (43-44) «000000001151

Blue Jays scrape out victory on Rios' ninth-inning single

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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TORONTO -- Alex Rios is headed to San Francisco on a high note.

Rios hit an RBI single in the ninth inning to lift the Toronto Blue Jays over the Cleveland Indians 1-0 on Sunday.

"That's a perfect way to send him off to the All-Star game," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Rios, who also will compete in Monday night's Home Run Derby in San Francisco.

Reed Johnson hit a one-out double in the ninth, chasing Cleveland starter Paul Byrd. Rafael Betancourt came on to face Rios, who lined a 1-1 pitch up the middle.

"It feels good to end the first half of the season with a win," said Rios, who is batting .294 and leads Toronto with 17 homers and 53 RBI.

Byrd (7-4) allowed four hits, struck out two and walked none in his longest outing of the season, but was upset with himself for a defensive miscommunication that led to Johnson's double down the first-base line.

Byrd didn't realize that first baseman Victor Martinez was guarding against the bunt and playing level with the bag, rather than behind the base.

"I'm extremely disappointed," Byrd said. "With him in, I would never throw a cut-fastball off the plate because the only thing (Johnson) can do with that is shoot it to the right side of the field. I thought Vic was playing back. I made a poor pitch. I'll think about that all night."

Blue Jays starter Josh Towers retired the first 17 batters he faced before Josh Barfield singled to left in the sixth.

Towers didn't realize he hadn't allowed a hit until the fourth inning, when he noticed his teammates were staying away from him in the dugout.

"I knew the ball was coming out pretty good," he said. "I was just concentrating on putting up zeros."

Towers struck out four and walked none over eight-plus innings, his longest start of the season. He's 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA in his past three starts.

"He's on a little bit of a roll right now, Gibbons said. "The last three starts have been very good."

Indians manager Eric Wedge said his team looked anxious against Towers.

"We weren't very good against him, that's for sure," Wedge said. "He did a good job moving the ball around, mixed all his pitches. He took it to us."

Towers, who also gave up a two-out single to Travis Hafner in the seventh, was replaced by Scott Downs after Barfield led off the ninth with a broken-bat single to center.

Grady Sizemore tried to advance Barfield with a sacrifice, but Downs fielded the bunt and threw to second in time for the out.

Jeremy Accardo (2-3) came on to face Casey Blake, who reached on third baseman John McDonald's error to put runners on first and second. Martinez struck out and Hafner walked, loading the bases for Jhonny Peralta. Accardo fell behind 3-0, then struck Peralta out with three straight strikes.

"It's tough to come all the way back like that," Gibbons said. "Jeremy has really thrived in that role."

The teams combined for 27 runs and 45 hits in the first two games of the series, but offense was at a premium Sunday.

Byrd was almost as stingy as Towers. The right-hander gave up a pair of third-inning singles to McDonald and Royce Clayton, but escaped by striking out Vernon Wells and Johnson.

"After the fourth or fifth inning, it was kind of apparent that it was going to be a 1-0 game," Byrd said. "You know you can't walk guys, you know you can't make mistakes. You try to get a little stingier."

Clayton hit a one-out double in the eighth, but Howie Clark and McDonald both popped out.

"Paul gave us a great effort today," Wedge said. "He deserved better."

Notes

  • Toronto's Aaron Hill (sore knee) was held out of the starting lineup.
  • Former Blue Jays and Indians second baseman Roberto Alomar attended the game.
  • Following the game, the Blue Jays optioned catcher/first baseman Curtis Thigpen to Triple-A Syracuse. First baseman Lyle Overbay is expected to rejoin the team following the All-Star break.
  • Toronto beat Cleveland 8-6 on Friday and the Indians won 9-4 on Saturday.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Alex Rios accepts congratulations from Jays ace Roy Halladay after knocking in the winning run.  (AP)
Alex Rios accepts congratulations from Jays ace Roy Halladay after knocking in the winning run. (AP)

Players of the Game
Toronto

J. Towers
IP 8.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 0
K 4
Toronto

A. Rios
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF4000022 .280
Casey Blake, 3B4000000 .276
Victor Martinez, 1B4000012 .324
Travis Hafner, DH3010100 .262
Jhonny Peralta, SS4000024 .277
Trot Nixon, RF3000000 .238
Jason Michaels, LF3000010 .284
Kelly Shoppach, C3000000 .330
Josh Barfield, 2B3020000 .260
Totals3103016  
Batting
SB - Josh Barfield (9, 2nd base off Towers/Zaun)
Team LOB - 5
Cleveland Indians
Paul Byrd (L,7-4) 8.1411020 4.41
Rafael Betancourt0100000 1.13
Pitches-Strikes - Paul Byrd 96-70, Rafael Betancourt 3-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Byrd 8-15
Batters Faced - Paul Byrd 29, Rafael Betancourt 1
Toronto Blue Jays
Vernon Wells, CF4000012 .253
Reed Johnson, LF4110012 .244
Alex Rios, RF4011000 .294
Frank Thomas, DH3000000 .251
Matt Stairs, 1B3000000 .287
Gregg Zaun, C3000000 .240
Royce Clayton, SS3020000 .236
Howie Clark, 2B3000002 .250
John McDonald, 3B3010001 .288
Totals3015102  
Batting
2B - Reed Johnson (3, Byrd), Royce Clayton (14, Byrd)
RBI - Alex Rios (53)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Matt Stairs (5, Missed catch of throw)
Toronto Blue Jays
Josh Towers 8300040 5.07
Scott Downs 0.1000000 2.41
Jeremy Accardo (W,2-3) 0.2000120 2.80
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Towers 92-68, Scott Downs 2-1, Jeremy Accardo 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Towers 11-9, Scott Downs 1-0, Jeremy Accardo 1-0
Batters Faced - Josh Towers 27, Scott Downs 1, Jeremy Accardo 4
Game Information
Attendance - 28239
Game Time - 2:17
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Bruce Dreckman, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Larry Poncino