Published November 20, 2014
Carlos Villanueva seems to be getting used to his role as a starter in Toronto.
If he pitches like he did on Sunday, it means trouble for some of the other American League clubs.
Villanueva pitched six shutout innings for the second consecutive outing, and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Cleveland Indians, 3-0, to win a three-game series at Rogers Centre.
"He made a number of big pitches to squelch any threat," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "We bunched a couple hits together to manufacture the three runs in the third."
Injuries to Toronto's rotation forced Villanueva (4-0) to take a starting role, and his last three appearances -- Nos. 23, 24 and 25 this season -- have been his first starts of the season. After allowing three runs in five innings on June 29, he's put together a 12-inning scoreless streak.
He allowed only three hits and five walks on Sunday along with a career-high eight strikeouts to help the Blue Jays win for the third time in four games.
Colby Rasmus continued his solid production for Toronto, driving in his 33rd run in the last 35 games. Darren Oliver picked up his first save of the season and the sixth of his 19-year career.
Derek Lowe (8-7) allowed three runs on three hits and four walks in six innings, not enough to help the Indians avoid their third loss in four games.
Michael Brantley had two doubles for Cleveland.
Toronto got all its offense in the third inning, the only frame in which the team sent more than four batters to the plate.
Kelly Johnson walked and moved to third on an attempted steal of second when the play went awry for Cleveland. Two batters later, Johnson scored the game's first run on J.P. Arencibia's single to center.
Arencibia advanced to second on a groundout, and Rasmus put Toronto ahead by two with an RBI single. The two-out rally continued with Jose Bautista's single, sending Rasmus to third, and Edwin Encarnacion walked to load the bases.
Lowe failed to get out of the jam, walking Adam Lind to force home the third run of the inning.
"Obviously, (there were) hits and walks," Lowe said. "I think three of them. Walked in a run. That was the game. Pretty much sums it up."
The Indians, despite their lack of runs, threatened more often than the Blue Jays. They put two runners on in two of the first four innings, but failed to capitalize against Villanueva.
In the sixth, Carlos Santana and Brantley worked back-to-back two-out walks, but Casey Kotchman waved at a 2-2 pitch to end the threat.
Cleveland never sent the tying run to the plate again.
Toronto won the season series, 4-2 ... Both teams totaled five hits in the game ... Villanueva had previous struck out seven batters in a game three times ... Oliver pitched two scoreless innings, allowing only one hit.