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CLE@TOR: Blue Jays hammer three straight triples

TORONTO -- There's a lot to be said about Blue Jays starter Kyle Drabek, but maybe it's best to let him explain what happened on Wednesday night.

"This is absolutely the worst start I've ever had," a dejected Drabek said after the Blue Jays fell to the Indians, 13-9, in the rubber match of their three-game series at Rogers Centre.

Drabek lasted just two-thirds of an inning, giving up back-to-back doubles to open the game and walking three Indians as the Blue Jays quickly fell behind, 4-0, in the first frame. He needed 38 pitches to get through the first eight batters of the game and was mercifully yanked by manager John Farrell after the third walk.

It was the shortest outing by a Blue Jays starting pitcher since 2007.

"Things were just going downhill. That's pretty much it," Drabek said after the game. "I've never in my whole life not gone at least an inning."

Control issues plagued the 23-year-old once again. The young right-hander has walked at least three batters in seven consecutive starts and in 11 of his 12 outings this season. The trio of free passes pushed his Major League-leading total to 45.

Drabek (3-4) was visibly frustrated on the mound throughout the first inning and quickly stormed to the locker room after Farrell decided to pull him from the game.

"You could see the frustration building in the inning," Farrell said. "It has to do with the in-game intensity, the in-game emotion that is still, at times, elusive for him. We've seen very good stretches where it's been very much under control and where he's executed pitches. That wasn't the case tonight."

Drabek has won just one game in his last six outings and has lasted past the sixth inning just three times in his 12 starts this year.

But despite laboring through a number of outings this year, the team remains adamant that they want Drabek to continue to work on his game at the Major League level.

"We fully believe in him. We fully expect that ... he's going to have some growing pains. And we're fully aware of that and fully accepting it," Farrell said. "He is a guy that we're committed to."

Reliever Shawn Camp was called on to pick up the pieces, getting out of the first inning and retiring the Indians in order in the second to restore some normalcy. But the right-hander would completely fall apart in a third inning that ended up being the worst frame of baseball the Blue Jays have played all season.

Camp allowed the first two batters to reach base before giving up a long three-run homer to Matt LaPorta that extended Cleveland's lead to seven.

The next four Indians would need just six pitches from Camp to all hit safely, before Yunel Escobar and Rajai Davis made back-to-back errors that turned a bad inning to horrific.

The eight runs were the most the Blue Jays have given up in a single frame since last season. Camp was tagged for six of them, the most he's allowed since July 6, 2006 when he gave up a half dozen to the Red Sox.

"We swung the bats really good," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Just about everybody in the lineup did something to contribute."

The Blue Jays would battle back, however, tagging Indians starter Josh Tomlin for six runs over the fifth and sixth innings after mustering just one hit over the first four.

Toronto hit three consecutive triples -- the first time that's happened since the Montreal Expos did it in 1981 -- in the fifth to set up a three-run inning before Davis went deep for his first home run of the season in the sixth, a three-run shot to left field.

"We continued to battle and give ourselves opportunities," Farrell said. "But given the 12-run deficit that the first three innings had in store for us, that's obviously a huge hole to come back from."

The Blue Jays added one in the seventh and two more in the ninth with Jose Bautista's two-run single to pull to within four. But the Indians' 12-run outburst -- led by Asdrubal Cabrera, Grady Sizemore and LaPorta who all plated three runs -- proved to be too tall of a mountain to climb.

"It could have been a lot uglier than it was," Blue Jays outfielder Corey Patterson, who went 1-for-5 with an RBI, said. "We got the nine runs -- that's a positive we can take. We didn't just fold."

Tomlin was credited with the win, exiting after six innings and allowing six runs on eight hits while striking out seven.

"It's definitely nice to have that run support early," said Tomlin, now 7-2 on the season. "It kind of frees you up to go out there and throw strikes and try to get ahead of hitters."

But while the Blue Jays proved they can score in bunches, the team's biggest concern going forward is clearly Drabek, the rookie starter who can't find the strike zone.

Drabek said his arm felt "great" on Wednesday and that he was feeling confident after his bullpen session before the game. Farrell also said he thinks Drabek has been throwing well in side sessions and indicated the youngster's problem was carrying that momentum over into the game.

"What we have to continually address is the work that he does on the side and the ability to command the baseball and take that consistency to the mound in-game," Farrell said. "That's an area of just controlling the emotions and continuing to trust his stuff. Success has the ability to reinforce that work and right now he's busting his tail to get over this hump."

That means more of the same for Drabek, who won't change his approach between starts as the team embarks on a seven-game road trip through Baltimore and Kansas City where Drabek is scheduled to make his next start.

The preparation off the playing field has been sound. It's what happens during the walk from the bullpen to the mound for the first pitch that Drabek would like to address.

"Still working on the same things," Drabek said with a shrug when asked what he would work on between starts. "It's just taking it out on the field. That needs to change." Comments