TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays lost two players mid-game and some more ground in the American League wild-card race on Sunday afternoon.
Kole Calhoun hit a tiebreaking two-run double followed by Ramon Laureano's two-run homer in the 11th inning and the Cleveland Guardians edged the Blue Jays 10-7.
Toronto is now 2 1/2 games back of the third and final AL wild-card playoff berth with 31 games remaining in the final five weeks of the schedule.
Toronto shortstop Bo Bichette and third baseman Matt Chapman exited the rubber-match loss with injuries that bothered them before the game.
Bichette left the game with a tight right quadriceps ailment after five innings and was listed as day-to-day. Blue Jays manager John Schneider didn't know if the shortstop's latest setback was related to the right knee injury that kept him out for 16 games earlier this month.
"(Bichette's) been feeling it a little bit and has been playing through it," Schneider said. "So we just wanted to be careful. I don't think he really hurt anything. It was more precaution than anything."
Chapman was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on Sunday night. He departed after the sixth with a swollen right middle finger. His injury hindered him during a 10-pitch at-bat in the fourth inning, where he fouled off four pitches.
"(Chapman) had a lot of swings, in that one at-bat in particular," Schneider said. "He's been grinding through it."
In the see-saw series finale in front of 41,978 in attendance at Rogers Centre, Toronto had leads of 2-0 in the first inning and 5-4 in the sixth. Cleveland took a 6-5 lead in the eighth, only to have the Blue Jays tie the affair in their half of the inning.
Calhoun hit a rocket over Toronto right-fielder George Springer with two outs off reliever Jay Jackson (3-1) in the 11th. Laureano's two-run blast went out to left-centre field.
Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase (2-7) gave up the game's final run on a Whit Merrifield sacrifice fly.
Blue Jays rookie infielder Davis Schneider enjoyed another strong game. He put the home side ahead 5-4 with a two-run blast to left field in the sixth inning and doubled with one out in the eighth.
He was lifted for pinch-runner Kevin Kiermaier, who scored on Daulton Varsho's single to right to tie the game at 6-6.
Andres Gimenez pulled a two-run double down the line in the eighth inning off reliever Tim Mayza to put the Guardians ahead 6-5 in the top of the eighth.
The Blue Jays jumped to a 2-0 lead in the opening inning on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s one-out, two-run blast to the second deck in left field for his team-leading 20th homer.
But the Guardians tied the game in the third with a two-run shot from Jose Ramirez, his 21st. It was Cleveland's sixth homer of the series.
The Guardians picked up two more runs in the fourth inning. Calhoun led off with a double to left-centre field and advanced to third on Laureano's single.
Tyler Freeman knocked in Calhoun with a one-out single to left field, and Laureano scored on Myles Straw's two-out hit.
Springer led off the fourth inning with a shot into the left-field seats for his 17th. In the fifth, he made a highlight-reel diving catch in the right-field alley to rob Ramirez of an extra-base hit.
Toronto left-hander Yusei Kikuchi went six innings, giving up four runs on six hits with eight strikeouts and two walks.
Guardians starter Noah Syndergaard also pitched six innings. He yielded the three homers and a Springer infield hit with three strikeouts and three walks.
Toronto reliever Erik Swanson was placed on the 15-day injured list with thoracic spine inflammation.
Swanson departed in the seventh inning on Saturday after a ground out and Straw's single, suffering right mid-back discomfort.
Jay Jackson was recalled from triple-A Buffalo to replace Swanson.
The Blue Jays finish their six-game homestand with a three-game set against the Washington Nationals.
Toronto's Kevin Gausman (9-8) will face right-hander Josiah Gray (7-10) in Monday's opener.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 27, 2023.
Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press