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Indians respond in huge way

By JOE NOGA • Jul 11, 2018 at 10:46 PM

CLEVELAND — Jose Ramirez and the Cleveland Indians showed Wednesday that the best way to get over a bad loss is to get on top of a few belt-high fastballs.

Ramirez led the way on a benchmark night for the Tribe offense, blasting a pair of homers and driving in five runs as the Indians pounded their way to a 19-4 victory against visiting Cincinnati at Progressive Field.

Cleveland's outburst helped snap a four-game losing streak and came one night after the club blew a four-run lead in the ninth during an ugly loss to the Reds.

Already selected an American League starter for next week's All-Star Game, Ramirez made a strong case for participating in Monday's home run derby when he turned around a four-seam fastball from Reds rookie Tyler Mahle in the first with Michael Brantley aboard. He added a three-run homer in the bottom of the third to cap Cleveland's nine-run inning against Mahle (7-7, 4.02) and reliever Tanner Rainey.

Ramirez stands alone in second place with 27 home runs, trailing A.L. leader J.D. Martinez of Boston (28). The 27 homers tie Ramirez with Albert Belle (1996) for the most by an Indians hitter before the All-Star break. Ramirez now has eight career multi-homer games, including two this season.

Sparked by five consecutive base hits, the Indians scored nine times in the third. Yonder Alonso, Yan Gomes and Brantley each delivered run-scoring hits as Cleveland sent 11 batters to the plate. It matched the club's highest single-inning score for the season after plating nine in the fifth inning of Game 2 of a doubleheader against Toronto on May 4.

The Indians are the only team in the majors with multiple nine-run innings this year. Every starter collected at least one hit and scored at least one run, including Jason Kipnis, who blasted his ninth homer in the team's six-run fourth inning.

The final total of 19 runs mark Cleveland's highest output since Aug. 8, 2015 against Minnesota during a 17-4 win.

Meanwhile, Carlos Carrasco (10-5, 4.16) benefitted from the Tribe's big offensive night, earning his fourth win in his last five decisions. Carrasco pitched five innings, allowing a run on five hits and striking out seven. He opened the game by fanning Cincinnati's Scott Schebler for his 1,000th career strikeout.

Carrasco became the 12th Indians pitcher to reach 1,000 punchouts and is the 44th active pitcher with at least that many in the majors.

Cincinnati got on the scoreboard in the fifth when speedy Billy Hamilton led off with a triple and came home on a sacrifice fly by Jose Peraza. Scooter Gennett smacked his 15th homer off Indians reliever Adam Plutko in the sixth.

Plutko worked three innings to pick up his first big-league save, allowing three runs including three strikeouts, a walk and two home runs. It was the first three-inning save by an Indians reliever since Scott Barnes in a 12-3 win against Boston in 2013.

Dynamic duo

Francisco Lindor added a three-run homer in the fourth inning for his 25th of the season. It marks the second consecutive night that Lindor and Ramirez hit home runs in the same game, and the 10th time this season. Per Stats LLC, the two are the first pair of teammates in the majors age 25 or younger to both reach 25 home runs prior to the All-Star break.

50 club

Alonso's RBI single in the third gave him 50 runs driven in for the season, making Cleveland the only club in the majors with five 50+ RBI hitters. Alonso joined Encarnacion, Ramirez, Lindor and Brantley as Indians hitters in the 50 RBI Club. No other big-league team has more than three.

What it means

The Indians avoid a sweep at the hands of their cross-state rivals. Cleveland improves to 22-9 in series finale games this season, including a 13-3 mark in home finales. The Tribe is now 8-1 when facing a sweep in a series finale, outscoring opponents 76-21 in those games.

The pitches

Mahle threw 71 pitches, 45 (63 percent) for strikes. Carrasco threw 83 pitches, 53 (64 percent) for strikes.

Thanks for coming

The Reds and Indians drew 22,215 fans to Progressive Field on Wednesday night. First pitch was at 7:10 p.m. with a temperature of 77 degrees.

Up next

The New York Yankees open a four-game series at Progressive Field on Thursday. Indians right-hander Corey Kluber (12-4, 2.49) will face the Yankees and right-hander Luis Severino (14-2, 2.12) at 7:10 p.m. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR/FM 95.3 will carry the game.

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