CLEVELAND -- With a swing, Travis Hafner undid all of Carlos Villanueva's good work.
The Blue Jays had a four-run lead with three outs remaining, but Frank Francisco and Luis Perez turned that into a 5-4 loss, as Hafner hit a walk-off grand slam off Perez to send Toronto to its third straight loss.
It was a tough way to lose for a team that has recently suffered some tough losses. Hafner's grand slam may have stung more than the game-ending play at the plate in Tuesday's loss to the Red Sox, but one thing's for certain: Toronto's in some tall grass as it winds up the first half of the season.
"We're going through a tough stretch out there," said Villanueva, who pitched six shutout innings before handing things over to the bullpen. "Those games, it seems like they come in bunches. I thought we made some good pitches, too, but they came back and they won."
Francisco entered the game unable to earn a save because the Jays' 4-0 lead was too great, and no one was able to save Toronto, once Francisco put the Indians' come-from-behind rally into motion.
Francisco refused to talk to the media after the game.
"Frankie was hot, and he was going to be in the game with a three-run lead," manager John Farrell said. "We get the four-run lead. He comes into the game. It was evident through the first three hitters that he wasn't sharp."
Facing the bottom of Cleveland's order, Francisco gave up a single and a double before walking Jack Hannahan to load the bases. That left Perez with the difficult task of finding three outs with Michael Brantley, Asdrubal Cabrera and Hafner due up.
After punching out Brantley, Perez gave up an RBI single to Cabrera. Before there was time to speculate how the lefty would respond, Hafner had ended the game with his 12th career grand slam, drawing loud cheers from the crowd of 18,816.
"With the left-handers coming, [I] made the move to get Luis," Farrell said. "I realize [he was] a young pitcher in that situation, but as susceptible as [the Indians] can be against left-handers and his sinking fastball, [I] looked to get a ball on the ground for the potential of a double play in that situation."
Instead of hitting one on the ground, Hafner hit one high and far. Though disappointed that Perez couldn't slam the door on Hafner and the Indians, Villanueva took up for Perez.
"He's got good stuff," Villanueva said. "How he bounces back is key. That's just the way it is. The game's not over till the last out. They did a great job to put up that comeback."
"Regardless of the atmosphere that he's come into, he's pitched very well," the skipper said. "He's been poised."
And sometimes, you just lose to a hitter who's on a tear. Since coming off the disabled list on June 17, Hafner is batting .351 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 16 games.
"He tried to get a sinker down and in to Hafner and to get a groundball on the right side of the infield," Farrell said. "[But] that ball stays up in the middle, and we saw what happened to it."
And while Perez and Francisco certainly have pitches they'd love to take back, Villanueva, despite his six scoreless innings, has one he'd like to redo even more.
Facing top Indians prospect Lonnie Chisenhall in the bottom of the second inning, Villanueva let loose a fastball that wound up going high and tight. The ball hit Chisenhall on the earpiece of his batting helmet and ricocheted off his face.
Chisenhall left the game, and the team later announced that the rookie had a facial contusion.
"I feel really bad about that," Villanueva said. "Hopefully, I will be able to call over there and talk to him. Hopefully, he's OK. I wasn't even trying to go up and in. I was trying to go in for a strike, and it just flew up a little bit. You know, it's tough."
The Blue Jays stranded 11 runners through the game, six in the first four innings against rookie starter Zach McAllister. One swing of Hafner's bat made those missed opportunities sting much more acutely.
Jose Bautista went hitless until the ninth, when he launched his 29th homer of the season deep into the left-field bleachers. Bautista's shot tied the franchise record for pre-All-Star Break homers, equaling the mark George Bell set in 1987.
Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.