Tribe Avoids Communication and Bullpen Issues in Reds Rout; Indians 19, Reds 4
Bob Toth | On 11, Jul 2018
One night after an embarrassing defeat aided by a communications breakdown by manager Terry Francona and his coaching staff, the Cleveland Indians avoided a similar scenario by running up 19 runs on 19 hits in a 19-4 rout of the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.
The Tribe avoided a series sweep at the hands of the last place Reds from Progressive Field and earned what should have been a series clinching victory, had it not been for the disastrous events of the night before. In the final game of the penultimate series of the first half of the season, the Indians (50-41) salvaged a victory, ending a four-game losing skid while finally notching their 50th win of the campaign. The Indians got good starting pitching from starter Carlos Carrasco, but they would not need much help from him or the bullpen on Wednesday as the bats came alive and battered the young Reds pitching staff.
The Indians would score in four separate innings on the night, making their massive tally of runs all the more impressive. They scored early and they scored often, wasting no time in the first inning to jump out to a lead.
Young right-hander Tyler Mahle drew the starting nod for the Reds, looking to complete a three-game sweep while extending his dominant run on the mound since the start of June. That would come to an end quickly as the Tribe plated a pair in the bottom of the first to take an early lead after Carrasco worked around back-to-back two-out singles from Joey Votto and Scooter Gennett in the top half. Michael Brantley recorded Cleveland’s first hit of the game with a single to left-center and two pitches later got to make his way around the rest of the bases, jogging home on a two-run home run from Jose Ramirez, his 26th of the year, to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
Carrasco left Jesse Winker standing at third base after his leadoff double in the second. The Indians would get a pair of base runners in the home half, but could not score, as Jason Kipnis and Tyler Naquin each walked but would be stranded. Votto’s two-out walk would be the only issue in the third for Carrasco, and the Tribe offense broke the game open for good in the bottom of the frame.
Brantley started the inning by reaching on an error by Votto at first. After Ramirez flied to center, Edwin Encarnacion singled to left-center, moving Brantley to third. Yonder Alonso drove home Brantley with a single to center to give the Indians a 3-0 lead. Kipnis singled to load the bases and Yan Gomes unloaded two of them with a two-run single to right-center, making it a 5-0 game. Interim manager Jim Riggleman had seen enough from his starter after just two and one-third innings, calling on Tanner Rainey, but he would do little to stop the bleeding. Naquin reached on an infield single to first, knocking in Kipnis. Greg Allen lined to left for the second out, but Francisco Lindor drew a walk to reload the bases. Brantley knocked the ball back into center field to score both Gomes and Naquin to make it an 8-0 game and, after working the count full, Ramirez cleared the bases with a two-out, three-run home run to right, his second of the night, to give the Indians a commanding 11-0 lead.
Carrasco allowed a two-out base runner in the fourth as Tucker Barnhart singled to right-center and moved to second on a wild pitch, but he moved no further as Adam Duvall grounded out in the hole to Kipnis.
The Indians tacked on more insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth against Rainey and the Reds bullpen. Alonso walked on four straight pitches and Kipnis, after getting ahead in the count 3-1, jumped a fastball and drove it over the wall in right for a two-run shot to make it 13-0. Gomes followed with a walk and he scored on a double to center by Naquin, bringing Riggleman back to the mound for Jackson Stephens. He too struggled to slow the Tribe down, giving up a single to Allen before Lindor launched a three-run bomb to right to give the Indians a 17-0 lead. Stephens would work his way out of the inning, retiring three of the next four batters around an Encarnacion two-out walk.
The Reds would score their only run off of Carrasco in the top of the fifth, as the Tribe starter had to deal with several long delays between innings due to the offensive outbursts of his teammates. Billy Hamilton started the middle inning with a triple to right and would score two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Jose Peraza in what would be an unnecessarily close play at the plate as Hamilton failed to slide on the throw from Naquin.
Adam Plutko, who was scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday prior to his call-up on Tuesday night, entered in long relief of Carrasco with a safe 17-1 lead in the sixth. He would give up a leadoff home run to Gennett, his 15th of the year, but retired the next three in order. He put two on in the seventh as Hamilton walked with one out and Scott Schebler followed with a single to right, but Peraza grounded into a double play to end the mini-threat.
Cleveland added two more runs in garbage time after the stretch. Erik Gonzalez singled off of former Indians reliever Kyle Crockett to open the inning. Roberto Perez singled and Alonso drove home the first base runner with a single to left-center. Kipnis walked to load the bases before Gomes struck out swinging for the second out. Naquin dropped in a two-out single to center to score Perez with the 19th run of the night before Allen grounded into a double play.
The Reds scratched across two more runs in the top of the eighth to counter the two runs scored by the Indians. Gennett singled off of Plutko with one out and, after a fly out, scored on a two-run home run by Winker to make it a 19-4 game. Catcher Curt Casali singled with two down before Duvall fouled out behind the plate to Gomes. The Reds got two more on board in the ninth, but did not score this time as Schebler walked with one out and moved to second on a single by Peraza before Dilson Herrera struck out and Gennett grounded out to end the ball game.
The defeat ended the Reds’ winning streak and dropped the club to 41-52 on the year.
It was a five-and-fly kind of night for Carrasco for all of the right reasons, as his strong performance was backed by an even better effort from his teammates as the game was long decided before he threw his final pitch of the day. The team made sure to at least get him a little work, as he threw 83 pitches before departing and he earned his tenth win of the campaign with the incredible amount of run support provided by the offense. He allowed a run on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in his abbreviated start.
Plutko’s four innings of three-run baseball may not have impressed, as two balls left the yard during his time on the mound, but he did accomplish a professional first as he recorded a save with his effort in one of the more lopsided save scenarios possible.
He worked four innings and got in 79 pitches, allowing three runs on six hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts.
Every member of the Tribe’s starting lineup recorded at least one hit and eleven different Cleveland players in total got in on the action, with Brandon Guyer serving as the only player to step to the plate for the Indians to not get a hit against the Reds on Wednesday.
Ramirez led the way for the Indians with homers 26 and 27 on the year in four trips while driving in five runs. He was lifted for Gonzalez, who went 2-for-2 at the plate. Lindor hit his 25th homer, walked, drove in three, and scored twice in six trips to the plate. Naquin had three hits and drew a walk, scored twice, and drove in three. Brantley had a pair of hits, drove in two, and scored three times.
MORE ON RAMIREZ
The surprising slugger also shared following the game that he would not participate in the Home Run Derby during next week’s All-Star Game festivities after talking things over with his coaches and his teammates.
“I sat down with the team and we made a decision, all of us together, and we just decided it wasn’t the best thing for me to do at this time,” shared Ramirez through the team interpreter. “It’s a long season. I’m a player that plays every day and I need to save energy for the second half and, God willing, the playoffs as well.”
Ramirez had at least one strong supporter in the Tribe dugout in his left side of the infield partner.
“I had him winning the Derby, believe it or not. I had him going all the way to the finals,” shared Lindor, who made it eleven different times this season that the duo has homered in the same game when he homered in the six-run fourth. “I truly believe in his bat. I truly believe in his bat control. Believe it or not, the Derby right now is not about how strong you are. It’s about who has the most bat control and I think Josey is one of the best at that.
“I think he had a really good chance of winning.”
BRING IN THE BOMBERS
The New York Yankees will head to town on Thursday to start a four-game series in the final set of the first half for both clubs. A pair of All-Star teammates will matchup in the opener at 7:10 PM ET on Thursday night, as Corey Kluber and Luis Severino take the mound.
Photo: Ron Schwane/Getty Images