CLEVELAND (AP) — David Murphy hit a three-run double in the sixth inning and John Axford worked out of bases-loaded jam in the ninth, lifting the Cleveland Indians to a 6-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday to avoid a series sweep.
Cleveland entered the sixth trailing 4-2, but reliever Aaron Loup (1-1) walked the bases loaded before Murphy delivered a line drive past third base that kicked off the stands and caromed into shallow left field, allowing all three runners to score.
Axford, the fourth Cleveland reliever, loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth before retiring Edwin Encarnacion on a groundout for his sixth save.
Josh Outman (3-0) recorded the final out of the sixth and Cleveland’s bullpen pitched 3 1-3 innings of relief.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona told reporters before the game he called a team meeting after Saturday’s defeat. The Indians, who had dropped seven of nine, responded by breaking a three-game skid.
Michael Brantley hit a solo homer in the second and added an RBI double in the fourth.
Toronto scored three times on four hits in the fourth. Jose Bautista and Juan Francisco had RBI singles while Brett Lawrire added a run-scoring groundout.
Brandon Morrow allowed three runs and was pulled after Nick Swisher’s leadoff single in the sixth. Loup got Jason Kipnis on a fielder’s choice. After Kipnis was caught stealing, Loup walked Carlos Santana, Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera to fill the bases.
Murphy’s liner past third bounced off the stands a few feet beyond the tarp and rolled into shallow left. By the time Melky Cabrera tracked it down, the runners had raced home and Cleveland had the lead.
Carlos Carrasco retired the first nine hitters, but got into immediate trouble in the fourth. Jose Reyes led off with a double into the right field corner. Melky Cabrera’s single sent Reyes to third before Bautista’s single to right tied it.
Encarnacion struck out, but Francisco’s single up the middle scored Cabrera and sent Bautista to third. Lawrie’s groundout made it 3-1.
Reyes added an RBI single in the fifth.
Carrasco hasn’t recorded a victory in his last 16 starts. The right-hander’s last win as a starter came on June 29, 2011, against Arizona. His last victory came in a relief appearance on Aug. 20, 2011, against the Los Angeles Angels.
Carrasco, who missed the 2012 season because of elbow surgery, is 0-11 with an 8.28 ERA since his last win as a starter.
Brantley sent a 3-2 pitch — the ninth of the at-bat — into Toronto’s bullpen in right field.
NOTES: Bautista has reached safely in all 19 games. … The Blue Jays are off Monday and begin a three-game series at home Tuesday against Baltimore. …. The Indians are expected to activate DH Jason Giambi (broken rib) from the 15-day DL Monday. He was hit by a pitch in a spring training game. … Cleveland opens a four-game series against Kansas City at Progressive Field on Monday. RHP Zach McAllister (2-2) faces RHP Jeremy Guthrie (2-0).