Sellout Progressive Field Crowd Treated to Early Fireworks Show; Indians 10, Yankees 2
Bob Toth | On 08, Jul 2016
A sellout crowd at Progressive Field to support the first place Cleveland Indians while taking in beautiful weather, dollar dogs, and a postgame pyrotechnics display was treated to frequent fireworks throughout the night as the Tribe used five home runs and a stellar start from Corey Kluber to blow out the Bronx Bombers, 10-2, on Friday night.
After Kluber got a double play ball to get out of the first, the Indians bats went to work against New York’s rookie righty Chad Green. Carlos Santana left the yard with a shot to right and Jason Kipnis followed with a shot of his own to give the Indians a two-run lead two batters into the game. Francisco Lindor walked before Green got a pair of outs, but Lonnie Chisenhall gave Cleveland their third three-homer inning of the season with a clout to right to score a pair and give Kluber a 4-0 lead to work with.
Green put the side down in order and retired Kipnis to start the third before Lindor drew another walk. Mike Napoli pummeled a ball deep to the Home Run Porch that went foul before hitting a moonshot to the bleachers in left that bounced off of the scoreboard, estimated at more than 460 feet, to give the Indians a 6-0 lead.
The Yankees starter took the mound for the fifth but did not last long after giving up a single to Kipnis with one out. He left for Richard Bleier, who gave up a double to deep center to Lindor that nearly left the yard to drive in Kipnis. Napoli singled to center to score Lindor and the Indians had an eight-run advantage.
Kluber gave up his only run of the night to lead off the seventh when Brian McCann homered to left. The Indians got that run back to lead off the bottom half when Kipnis hit his second home run of the night, a no-doubt shot to right, off of former Indians reliever Anthony Swarzak to make it 10-1. The Yankees added a run in the ninth on back-to-back doubles by Carlos Beltran and McCann, who had three hits on the night.
The Indians (52-34) have now won 17 of their last 21 and 14 of 16 at Progressive Field. The Indians used strong starting pitching and an unbelievable display of power at the plate as the team slugged a season-high five home runs, including the three in the first.
The Yankees (42-44) have now lost eight of their last 13.
“We’re coming together as a team,” said Kipnis. “We’re trying to finish strong right now in the first half. We have two more we need to get done with. Guys are looking forward to the break but we’re not trying to just get too ahead of ourselves. We want to take care of business before we do. We don’t want to waste the first half. It’s a fun team to get behind right now, if you ask me.”
KLUBER PROVES HIS ALL-STAR WORTH
Kluber (9-8, 3.61 ERA) was solid on the mound in his final start before the All-Star break and his first as an American League All-Star. He worked eight innings, giving up just one run on five hits. He did not issue a walk and struck out eight while making 96 pitches, 68 for strikes.
“Klubs did exactly what you’re supposed to,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “He threw strikes. We made some nice defensively plays. He pounded the zone with really good stuff.”
GREEN LOOKED GREEN
Green (1-2, 7.04) looked every bit of a rookie on the mound against the Indians offense. He worked four and one-third innings and was charged with seven runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He allowed four home runs to the Tribe.
The back-to-back shots from Santana and Kipnis was the third time this season that the Indians have hit consecutive home runs in a game. It was the first time the team had hit back-to-back homers to start a game since September 22, 2011, when Kosuke Fukudome and Kipnis started the game with a pair of shots off of Phil Humber on the way to an 11-2 rout of the Chicago White Sox from Progressive Field.
Kluber pitched an inning of scoreless relief in that outing, in his rookie season, when he walked two and struck out one.
MORE HOMER NUMBERS
The Indians have now homered at least once in 20 of the last 23 games.
“I wish we could do that all the time. That’s a nice way to play,” said Francona. “Santana leads off the game, Kip right behind him. Two doesn’t mean that you’ve got the game won but it sure sets the tone. Then Lonnie came up with the other two. And then Nap…barely hitting one out…but that was nice because you spread it out.”
Santana’s homer was his 20th of the season, keeping his team lead and surpassing his total of 19 for all of 2015.
Napoli’s homer was his 13th of the season at Progressive Field. He has 18 on the season. The blast was estimated at over 460 feet.
“Mark Reynolds had the longest one we’ve seen,” shared Kipnis on Napoli’s blast. “That was about five rows and a section over. This was one more to the right and all the way up by the drummer. None of us, not even in BP, have seen one up there.”
“Wow. That’s…I don’t know how you hit a ball that hard. Obviously I don’t, but that was fun to watch,” said Francona about Napoli’s homer.
The two-homer game for Kipnis was the third of his career. He last did so on July 18, 2014, in Detroit against the Tigers. In that game, he went back-to-back with Asdrubal Cabrera in the seventh inning before hitting a solo homer in the ninth in a 9-3 win.
“You know what, last year involved me staying through with my bat path through the zone a long time, kinda pushing the ball the other way, forcing it that way,” said Kipnis about his power spike this season. “This year, I’m just getting my bat through the zone and staying a little more balanced and upright and it’s leading to a little more pull-side power so I’ll take it.”
The two blasts give Kipnis 14 homers on the season.
“Early on, everybody it seemed like they wanted to talk about his strikeouts. Through the whole entire year he’s been very consistent and he’s also been very productive,” said Francona. “It’s good. That was one of his goals and I think he’s done a very good job of that.”
SECOND SELLOUT OF THE WEEK
After drawing 101,557 fans through the first four home games in July, the Indians expanded on those numbers even further with their second sellout of the week on Friday and their third of the season.
Tickets are limited for both games on Saturday and Sunday afternoons before the All-Star break. Standing room only tickets ($19) have been released for Saturday’s game, which is expected to sell out.
“It’s a lot more fun when it’s in your home park,” said Kipnis. “We don’t care what the reasoning is for – the Yankees, dollar dog night, fireworks, what have you. We love having you guys here and we feed off of you. You could feel the excitement. This was a good place to play tonight.”
Joseph Colon, a 26-year-old rookie called up on Thursday, made his Major League debut in the ninth inning. He struck out the first batter that he faced, Jacoby Ellsbury, before giving up a pair of doubles to allow a run. He got a pop up in the on deck circle and a fly out to center to end it.
“We warmed him up a couple of times last night to take the edge off,” said Francona. “Velocity was real good. I think as he gets a little more comfortable you’ll see the sink, because he was up with some pitches.”
He was a 12th round pick in 2009 by the Indians. He re-signed with the club in the offseason on a minor league deal but was suspended the first 50 games of the year.
MARTINEZ TO RED SOX
On Friday afternoon, the Indians announced that utility man Michael Martinez, who was designated for assignment last weekend, had been traded to the Boston Red Sox for cash considerations.
It will be a glance at the past and the present for Tribe fans on Saturday afternoon as former Indians All-Star and ace CC Sabathia (5-6, 3.48) returns to Cleveland to make the start against first-time All-Star Danny Salazar (10-3, 2.36) in the final starts for both in the first half.
The afternoon start time for Saturday’s game is 4:10 PM ET.
Photo: AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk