The Toronto Blue Jays hope to go seven games above .500 for the first time this season when they play the third game of a four-game series against the visiting Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.
The Blue Jays defeated the Indians 7-2 on Tuesday night to move six games above .500.
The teamshave split the first two games of the series and the Blue Jays are 4-1 to start a 10-day, 11-game homestand that marks their return to Rogers Centre for the first time since Sept. 29, 2019, because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The Blue Jays have won six of their past eight games.
The loss dropped the Indians to .500. The Indians are 7-10 since the All-Star break but have not been below .500 since May 1, when they were 12-13.
Cleveland will start rookie right-hander J.C. Mejia (1-6, 7.60 ERA) on Wednesday. Toronto will start left-hander Steven Matz (8-6, 4.58).
Mejia pitched 1 2/3 hitless innings in relief in his only appearance against Toronto on May 30. He walked one and struck out one.
He will try to be prepared for a team that starts aggressively. The Blue Jays hit two home runs in a three-run first inning Tuesday. George Springer had a leadoff homer and Teoscar Hernandez had a two-run shot against Zach Plesac.
"They were very aggressive against me, knowing I was going to be throwing a lot of strikes," Plesac said. "They were looking for heaters away. I think I threw some good curveballs. I should have thrown more. ... I tip my cap to them. They came out swinging."
Matz allowed four runs and four hits in five innings May 30 at Cleveland but did not factor in the decision (Cleveland won 6-5). He is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA and a 0.873 WHIP in three career outings against the Indians.
The Blue Jays reinstated outfielder Corey Dickerson (left foot contusion) from the injured list Tuesday and put infielder Cavan Biggio (mid-back tightness) on the IL. Dickerson was 0-for-4 Tuesday as designated hitter in his Blue Jays debut.
Dickerson was injured when he was obtained June 29 with reliever Adam Cimber from the Miami Marlins. Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo, who knows Dickerson from their time together with the Tampa Bay Rays, feels the left-handed hitter could be a key during the stretch drive. He joins a crowded outfield picture, and his role will evolve.
"We're going to get to that point," Montoyo said, "but it feels good to have someone like Dickerson, because, if he's not playing and he's on the bench when they bring a tough righty out of the bullpen, he can pinch-hit for anybody. He's that good."
In the loss Tuesday, Cleveland used two relievers who might factor into the series later.
Trevor Stephan made his first appearance since July 24, and Sam Hentges, who spent time at Triple-A Columbus, made his first appearance since July 7. Stephan allowed a run in two innings, and Hentges pitched a runless eighth.
"I thought Sam was outstanding," acting manager DeMarlo Hale said. "He got in the zone, missed a couple of times, but got back in the zone.
"Stephan as well. He came in and was around the zone. His (velocity) was there. ... I'm very pleased with those two."
--Field Level Media