Ramirez Backs Tomlin with Five Extra Base Hits to Wrap Up Sweep; Indians 11, Tigers 1
Bob Toth | On 03, Sep 2017
The Cleveland Indians did something they had never done in their 117-year history on Sunday, completing a four-game sweep over the Tigers in Detroit to win their eleventh consecutive game.
The Indians may be the team to beat in the American League as they won their eleventh game in a row, joining a nine-game streak from the end of July to make them one of the top teams in baseball in the second half. They were backed by a strong return to the mound by Josh Tomlin, who made his first start in over a month, and an incredible game by Jose Ramirez that was also a historic performance in the long history of Major League Baseball.
Cleveland struck first in the first against Detroit left-hander Chad Bell, making the start on short notice for Michael Fulmer, who was scratched with numbness in his throwing hand. With two down in the first, Ramirez hit one of the more unlikely home runs one could ever see as he lifted a long drive that bounced off of the yellow line on the top of the left field wall. It bounced a second time before left fielder Mikie Mahtook jumped up in the air to “grab the rebound” only to knock the ball over the wall for a solo home run to put the Indians up, 1-0.
The Indians padded their lead in the second. Three straight one-out singles would push across the second run as Yandy Diaz, Brandon Guyer, and Roberto Perez all reached on base hits with the latter pushing across Diaz to make it a 2-0 game. Greg Allen walked to load the bases and Francisco Lindor grounded into a force out at second base, scoring Guyer to make it a three-run lead.
The Tigers struck through against Tomlin in the bottom of the second with a two-out rally. Jeimer Candelario started the threat with a single to left-center. James McCann followed with a single of his own and JaCoby Jones knocked in the Tigers’ lone run of the afternoon with a single to center, cutting the deficit to 3-1.
The Tribe would tack on from there, putting the game out of reach. In the third, Ramirez doubled to the gap in left-center, moved to third on a groundout by Edwin Encarnacion, and scored on a fielder’s choice back to the mound as the second baseman’s alert hustle and smart slide around the Tigers catcher helped him avoid the tag.
Bell held the Indians scoreless for the first time in the fourth, but they would get back into the action in the fifth. Austin Jackson singled to start the inning and Ramirez notched his third straight extra base hit with a double to the left field corner. A walk by Encarnacion loaded the bases and brought Zac Reininger on in relief. He recorded the first out of the inning on a line out by Carlos Santana, but Diaz plated a run with a single to center to make it a 5-1 Indians lead.
Cleveland opted to skip run manufacturing in the sixth against Reininger. With one out, Lindor blasted a home run deep to right to make it 6-1. Jackson singled and Ramirez launched another deep drive to right. Alex Presley jumped at the wall, only to have the ball tick off of his glove and off of the railing above the wall for a two-run home run and his fourth straight extra base hit of the contest.
The Indians added two more in the eighth off of Daniel Norris. Ramirez started the inning doing what he had done all game long, blasting a shot to straightaway center that cleared Jones’ glove for a double, his third of the game and his fifth extra base hit in as many at bats. He was lifted for pinch-runner Giovanny Urshela and he would score as Encarnacion doubled to the base of the wall in left to make it 9-1. Francisco Mejia took over on the base paths for Encarnacion and was joined on the bags after back-to-back walks by Santana and Diaz. Joe Jimenez was summoned from the bullpen and got the first out of the inning as Guyer flied out to shallow right, but Perez drew a bases loaded walk to force in the tenth run of the game.
For good measure in the ninth against Jairo Labourt, Urshela walked with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Mejia, in his second big league at bat, popped to third for the second out, but Lonnie Chisenhall hit a double to the ball boy down the right field line to score Urshela with the eleventh and final run.
Dan Otero closed out the game with a relatively quiet ninth while pitching to Mejia. Efren Navarro singled to lead off the frame but a line out by John Hicks and a double play ball off of the bat of Mahtook ended the ball game.
The Indians (80-56) earned their eleventh win in a row and have started their road trip at 7-0 with four to play this week in Chicago against the White Sox. It is the club’s longest such streak since setting a franchise-record with 14 straight victories last season. Cleveland is now 44-27 on the road this season, the most wins for any Major League team away from home this season.
Detroit fell to 58-78 in defeat and is now just 31-36 at Comerica Park this season.
Ramirez stole the show from Tomlin (8-9), who made his return to the mound for the Indians after being bumped back several times over the last week. He worked five and two-thirds innings, allowing just one run on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts. He exited with just 74 pitches thrown, but his club was already up 8-1 at the time of his departure and there was little reason to over-extend him in his first game back on the bump. The defense behind the Indians’ pitching staff turned five double plays on the afternoon.
Bell (0-2), making his first Major League start, took his second loss of the season after working four-plus innings on the mound. He was charged with five runs on eight hits, walking two batters and striking out one in the process. Four of six Tigers pitchers to work in the ball game allowed at least one run.
The day really belonged to Ramirez, who became just the 13th player in Major League history and third Indian to record five extra base hits in one game. He became the first player to have five extra base hits in a game since Chicago’s Kris Bryant last season and the first Indians player to do so since Kelly Shoppach in 2008. Ramirez hit a pair of Tigers-aided home runs to give him 22 on the season and he expanded his Major League lead in doubles to 47 with three more on the day.
On the year, Ramirez is hitting .472 with eight homers and 22 RBI in 15 games against Detroit.
Lindor also etched his name into the history books on Sunday, as his 26th homer of the season moved him past Asdrubal Cabrera for the most homers hit in a season by a Tribe shortstop.
The Indians will head to the Windy City to wrap up the final leg of their three-city, eleven-game road trip. Trevor Bauer (14-8, 4.46 ERA) will get the starting nod in the series opener Monday in a holiday afternoon start against James Shields (2-5, 5.72). The Tigers will remain home to finish their homestand with a three-game set against the Kansas City Royals.
Photo: Duane Burleson/Getty Images