ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion are back together again and got a chance to celebrate a home run like old times in Toronto.
Donaldson went hitless in his Cleveland debut, Encarnacion reached 30 homers for the seventh straight season and the Indians beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 on Tuesday night.
Donaldson was on-deck when Encarnacion went deep and the pair exchanged a high-five afterward.
“We try and have fun out there,” Encarnacion said. “It's good to have him back in the same lineup together.”
Cleveland lowered its magic number to three for a third straight AL Central title. Second-place Minnesota defeated the New York Yankees 10-5.
Acquired from Toronto on Aug. 31, Donaldson went 0 for 4 in his first big league game since May 28, a layoff caused by a strained left calf.
“He looked to me like Donaldson,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He took some ferocious swings, and he was on so many pitches. He squared up a couple and had nothing to show for it. He's got time and it gets exciting.”
Jose Ramirez moved from third to second, and second baseman Jason Kipnis moved to center.
Yan Gomes also homered and rookie Shane Bieber (10-3) struck out a career-high 11 in 62/3 innings, allowing three hits and three walks.
Tampa Bay had its franchise record 12-game home winning streak end and lost for just the fourth time in 21 games.
The Rays dropped to 81/2 games behind Oakland for the second AL wild card. The teams will meet in a three-game series this weekend.
“The odds are against us but I'm very excited,” Rays ace Blake Snell said.