Plutko and Tribe Bats Bring Out the Brooms Again; Indians 12, Tigers 2

Adam Plutko limited the Detroit Tigers to two runs in six quality innings of work and Cleveland bats piled on the runs again as the Indians completed back-to-back sweeps with a 12-2 win from Progressive Field on Sunday afternoon.

Plutko got back to form with a much better outing on the mound, limiting the Tigers to just two fourth-inning runs. The Indians (43-33) lineup provided him with a steady stream of support, clobbering four home runs, as the team won its seventh straight game to close out its homestand.

The Indians starter allowed the first two men to reach in the first, but got three straight fly outs to get out of the jam. His offense then gave him a run of support with a pair of big two-base hits. Francisco Lindor started his big day at the dish with a double to left off of Tigers lefty Matthew Boyd and two outs later, Edwin Encarnacion began his own impressive day with an RBI-double to the left field corner, putting the Indians up, 1-0.

Plutko retired the side in order in the second before the Indians sent nine men to the plate in the second frame. After Yonder Alonso struck out to start the inning, the next three reached as Yan Gomes singled, Jason Kipnis walked, and Rajai Davis drove home a run with a single to right to make it 2-0. Lindor popped to short for the second out before Davis stole second, putting a pair in scoring position for Michael Brantley, who delivered a two-run single to left to make it 4-0. The Indians would load the bases for the first time on the day as Brantley stole second, Jose Ramirez singled and stole second, and Encarnacion walked before Brandon Guyer was cut down swinging to leave the bags full.

Both teams went down quietly in the third before the Tigers cut the deficit in half with a big fourth frame. Nicholas Castellanos doubled to center to start the inning and moved to third on a single to right by Victor Martinez. Niko Goodrum delivered an RBI-single to right to drive in Detroit’s first run, and after a double play grounder by John Hicks, James McCann singled home Martinez to make it 4-2.

Cleveland got the runs right back with a big response in the fourth to knock out Boyd. Davis reached on an infield single down the third base line before Lindor got into a long battle with Boyd, fouling off three straight pitches before driving the seventh pitch of the at bat deep to right-center to put the Indians up, 6-2. The blast was his third in as many days and gave him 19 on the year.

Plutko would work quickly and quietly through his final two innings, throwing a perfect fifth before working around a leadoff single from Castellanos in the sixth.

Artie Lewicki replaced Boyd on the mound in the fourth and, after giving up singles to the first two men that he faced, got a big double play ball and a groundout. He gave up a two-out single to Kipnis in the fifth, but the Indians got to him for a run in the sixth with two down as Ramirez drove his AL-lead tying 23rd home run to right to make it a 7-2 game.

Dan Otero retired the side in order in relief of Plutko in the seventh and Lewicki faced the minimum in the home half, erased a leadoff Lonnie Chisenhall single on an inning ending double play. Oliver Perez and Neil Ramirez combined to work a 1-2-3 eighth before the Indians bats erased what little doubt remained.

On for his fifth inning of relief, Lewicki faced Kipnis, who drove the third offering over the wall in center to give Cleveland an 8-2 lead. The Indians would hardly be done, however, as after a strikeout by Tyler Naquin, Lindor reached on a single off of the right ankle of Lewicki. Brantley doubled him to third and Ramirez was intentionally walked again to bring Encarnacion to the plate. He did not disappoint, hitting his eleventh career grand slam the opposite way to right on a slider over the plate to break the game open at 12-2. The Indians would get two more on base with two outs on singles by Alonso and Gomes, but would do no further damage.

Josh Tomlin handled the ninth, retiring the side in order on two liners and a strikeout as the Tribe busted out the brooms.

During the Indians’ current season-high seven-game hitting streak, they have outscored the opposition 54-9. They put up 12 runs on 19 hits on Sunday, with every spot in the lineup recording at least one hit. The Tigers (36-42) dropped their fifth straight game and were swept in consecutive Ohio series against the Cincinnati Reds and the Tribe. They fell eight games back in the American League Central with the defeat.

Plutko – Joe Robbins/Getty Images


Plutko made his first career start against the Tigers on Sunday and his first since allowing back-to-back five-run outings to the Chicago White Sox. He made a quality effort in earning his fourth win of the season, allowing just two runs on six hits in six innings of work. He threw 58 of 90 pitches for strikes, striking out four and walking none on the day.


Boyd, who has put up good numbers in his career against the Indians, was unable to do the same in his second start of the season against Cleveland. He could not finish the fourth inning, charged with six runs on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts in three-plus innings of work.

In his first start against the Tribe on April 10, he allowed just one run on three hits in seven innings in a no-decision.


Leadoff man Lindor led the way for the Tribe on Sunday, going 3-for-5 at the plate with a double, a two-run home run, and three runs scored. He now has 31 multi-hit games this season and with three homers in the series with the Tigers, Lindor for the first time in his career has homered in three straight games.


With their second home sweep of the Tigers, the Indians moved to 18-4 on the year at Progressive Field against the AL Central. They are 7-0 against Detroit, 6-0 against Chicago, 4-2 against Kansas City, and 1-2 versus Minnesota.


During their seven-game winning streak, the Indians starters have done some impressive heavy lifting. The pitching staff has gone 7-0 in that stretch with a 0.96 ERA in 46 2/3 innings of work with 34 hits and nine walks allowed while racking up 56 strikeouts.


With their nine-game homestand complete with a solid 7-2 performance, the Indians will hit the road for a nine-game, three-city road trip that will take them to St. Louis first for an interleague series against the NL Central’s Cardinals.

Mike Clevinger (6-2, 3.00 ERA) will be the first to the bump for the Tribe against the Red Birds. Right-hander John Gant (1-2, 4.39) will oppose. First pitch from Busch Stadium is scheduled for an 8:15 PM ET start.

Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

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