The Cleveland Indians’ offense was alive and well in the heat and heart of Texas on Saturday night as the Tribe bats racked up 16 runs on 21 hits in a 16-3 romp of the Texas Rangers from Globe Life Park.
For four innings, all was quiet in Arlington as both teams failed to tally a run, but then the dam burst as the Indians scored in each of the final five frames to rout the Rangers. Twelve of 13 Indians players to step to the plate recorded a hit, with only Jason Kipnis kept out of the hit column over the course of the night.
The Indians would get base runners in each of the first two innings against their former ace from long ago, the 45-year-old Bartolo Colon. Francisco Lindor’s leadoff double in the first was erased on a fielder’s choice, and a pair of runners in the second were stranded at the corners as Yan Gomes and Tyler Naquin were each retired.
It was a different story for Tribe starter Carlos Carrasco, who gave up a one-out single to Rougned Odor in the first before retiring the next eleven batters in a row before his team would begin to blow out the home Rangers.
The Indians piled on the hits in the fifth to take a big lead against Colon. Melky Cabrera doubled on the first pitch of the frame and scored three pitches later on a single to right by Gomes, giving Cleveland a 1-0 lead. Naquin flied to center, but Lindor delivered an RBI-double to right. Michael Brantley made it a 3-0 game with a single to left-center, scoring Lindor from second. Jose Ramirez extended the lead to 4-0 with a single to right as right fielder Joey Gallo’s error allowed Brantley to score all the way from first. Ramirez would be thrown out at third trying to advance for the second out of the inning. With the bases emptied, Edwin Encarnacion doubled to left, the third two-base hit of the inning for the Indians, leading to a pitching change for Texas. Austin Bibens-Dirkx came on, but he could not slow down the extra base assault from the Indians as Yonder Alonso blasted home run number 14th on the year over the wall in right to give Cleveland a commanding 6-0 advantage.
The Indians turned back to the extra base hit in the sixth as they expanded their lead with three more runs. Gomes was plunked with a one-out pitch after Cabrera lined out. Naquin sent the second pitch of his at bat over the wall in right-center for a two-run blast to make it 8-0. Lindor grounded to first for the second out before Brantley walked and Ramirez tripled him in with a drive to center to make it 9-0.
Carrasco struck out three in the sixth, working around a triple by Carlos Tocci. Alonso made it 10-0 with a leadoff homer in the seventh, his second of the night.
The Rangers finally got on the board in the bottom of the seventh. Elvis Andrus singled and jogged in on a two-run home run from Adrian Beltre, his fifth homer of the year. Carrasco got a double play ball before handing the ball over to Cody Allen, who faced one batter and got a groundout.
The Indians scored for the fourth straight inning in the eighth. With two outs in the frame, Brandon Guyer singled to right and Erik Gonzalez reached on an infield single. Encarnacion knocked them both in with a double to left-center to give the Indians another ten-run lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Texas found the scoreboard again. With two on against Dan Otero, Ronald Guzman drove in pinch-runner Ryan Rua with a single, but pinch-hitter Isiah Kiner-Falefa stranded runners on the corners with a grounder to short.
Cleveland used its last plate appearances to beat up on Bibens-Dirkx again. Cabrera doubled with one out for his third hit of the game. Gomes lined out for the second out before the two-out rally began. Naquin singled home Cabrera and moved to second on a single by Yandy Diaz. A two-run double from Guyer made it a 15-3 contest and Gonzalez doubled him home to make it 16-3. A fifth straight hit, this one from pinch-hitter Roberto Perez, would send Jeff Banister to the mound for Alex Claudio, who ended the inning in his first appearance since being activated from the disabled list.
The Indians moved to 54-43 with the win and pulled within a game of the .500 mark on the road. The Rangers dropped to 41-58 in defeat.
Carrasco moved to 12-5 on the season with his quality start. He exited after 96 pitches in the bottom of the seventh, working six and two-thirds innings while allowing two runs on five hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. Otero would be the only Indians reliever touched up on the night, giving up a run on three hits in an inning of work.
The ageless wonder Colon took his eighth loss of the season in a short start. After four scoreless innings, he would not finish the fifth, charged with five runs on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Bibens-Dirkx took the bigger hit in four innings of relief, allowing eleven runs on 13 hits (including three home runs).
The Indians used their 21 hits to dismantle Texas. The team combined for eight doubles, a triple, and three home runs and a strong 8-for-15 effort with runners in scoring position. Lindor, Cabrera, and Encarnacion each had two doubles apiece.
Cleveland will go for the sweep on Sunday in a 3:05 PM ET start from Arlington. Yovani Gallardo (3-1, 8.60 ERA) will look to bounce back from one of his worst outings of the season his last time out, while the Indians will send right-hander Mike Clevinger (7-5, 3.47).
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