The Cleveland Indians take aim at their first 3-0 start since 1998, as they finish up their season-opening series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday at Rogers Centre.
Mark Reynolds' first hit as a member of the Indians turned out to be the difference in Wednesday's 3-2 win. Cleveland's new designated hitter launched the go-ahead solo home run off Sergio Santos in the 11th inning to send the visitors home happy.
"That's what he has," Tribe manager Terry Francona said. "He's going to miss sometimes, but when he does (connect), it's a game-changer. It was tonight."
Michael Brantley went 4-for-5 with a RBI for the Indians, who won despite going just 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Ubaldo Jimenez, coming off the worst statistical season of his career, allowed only a run on three hits in six innings of work. He recorded six strikeouts.
Meanwhile, Toronto's flashy offseason has yielded little production through two games, and now the team is in danger of being swept at home to start the season for the first time since 2004.
The Blue Jays managed just five hits in Wednesday's loss, although Jose Bautista supplied his usual power stroke with a home run off Indians closer Chris Perez in the ninth to send the game into extra innings. After the game, Bautista was not concerned about his team's slow start.
"There are going to be stretches when we're not going to score six, seven runs a game," the right fielder said. "This is just one of them that happened now at the beginning of the season."
Starter Brandon Morrow eased concerns from a rocky spring, as the right-hander allowed just one run over six innings with eight strikeouts.
Toronto will turn to left-hander Mark Buehrle, who was part of the 11-player blockbuster trade with Miami back in November. Like Morrow, Buehrle also had his struggles in spring training, although the veteran southpaw has also pitched at least 200 innings in each of the last 12 seasons.
Taking the hill for Cleveland is right-hander Brett Myers, who inked a one- year, $8 million deal in the offseason. Myers finds himself back in the starting rotation after spending last year in the bullpen for the Astros and White Sox.
When the Indians last swept their season-opening series 15 years ago, they went on to win the American League Central.