CLEVELAND -- Aaron Laffey enjoyed his first win in 10 months.
It isn't even close to being No. 1 on his thrill list for the week.One day after the birth of his first son, Laffey (1-2) allowed one run over six-plus innings and the Cleveland Indians beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight win."With runners on base or when I was behind in the count, I thought, 'Come on, your son was born yesterday, you can't give in,' so it was part inspiration for me," Laffey said.The left-hander gave up five hits and struck out five. He was 0-8 in nine starts and 29 appearances at the major league level since beating Minnesota last Aug. 16.Matt LaPorta and Shin-Soo Choo hit solo home runs for Cleveland, which matched its longest win streak of the season following a season-worst seven-game losing streak. The Indians will seek their first four-game home sweep since May 25-28, 2009, against Tampa Bay, when they host the Blue Jays on Thursday.Toronto has lost four straight and is 3-11 in its last 14 road games. The Blue Jays have been shut out twice and scored two or fewer runs five times in dropping eight of their last 10 overall."We just can't score any runs," manager Cito Gaston said. "We can't get a big hit with guys on the bags."Gaston is looking forward to July after the Blue Jays went 9-17 in June."It's got to be better than June," he said. "It couldn't be any worse."Laffey wasn't at Progessive Field at all Tuesday after Braeden was born at 10:42 a.m. Laffey said he got plenty of rest anyway and felt comfortable in his second start since being recalled from the minors on Saturday. He was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on May 30."Laffey had a good sinker and slider," manager Manny Acta said. "He did a good job and so did the bullpen."Chris Perez pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save in 10 chances. He closed in place of Kerry Wood, who had three saves in three days.Choo put Cleveland ahead 1-0 with a 422-foot home run off Jesse Litsch (0-3) with one out in the first. It was Choo's fifth homer in his last eight games and 13th of the season.Carlos Santana had an RBI single in the sixth to put Cleveland ahead 2-0 and LaPorta's second homer in two nights, off reliever Shawn Camp in the seventh, made it 3-1."That homer was huge," Perez said. "It's a lot easier to work with a two-run lead."Toronto loaded the bases in the fifth on a two-out double by Aaron Hill and two walks. Laffey got out of the jam by striking out Fred Lewis.John Buck singled to open the seventh. Buck was running when Lyle Overbay singled off the glove of a leaping LaPorta at first base. Overbay's 1,000th career hit put Blue Jays on first and third and finished Laffey.Reliever Frank Herrmann got Hill to pop out to second on the first pitch. Nick Green then grounded a single up the middle to score Buck, cutting Cleveland's lead to 2-1. Shortstop Jason Donald smothered the ball with a dive, but could not get an out.Herrmann ended the threat by striking out pinch-hitter Adam Lind and Lewis, who fouled off five consecutive pitches before finally being retired. Lind's out dropped him into a 2-for-20 (.100) slump."Herrmann did a fantastic job of cleaning up that mess," Acta said. "He threw 15 of his 18 pitches for strikes."Litsch gave up two runs and four hits over six innings. The right-hander has been inconsistent in four starts since returning June 13, a year and one day after having Tommy John surgery. After throwing seven innings in a 3-0 victory over San Francisco on June 19, he allowed six runs and walked four in four innings of a 9-0 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday."It was a lot better than last time," Lisch said. "I was getting ahead of hitters."
Gaston moved Buck up to fifth in the lineup and dropped Hill to seventh, using the 2B as the DH. Hill went 1 for 4 and has hit only .139 (5 of 36) in his last 10 games. ... Toronto leads the majors with 115 homers, but has none in three games. ... LaPorta is 4 for 9 in the series and 6 for 15 against the Blue Jays this season. ... Cleveland has homered in 18 of its last 23 games and has at least one extra-base hit in 26 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the AL.