After being held to two runs over the first five innings, the Cleveland bats broke out with seven runs in the sixth to pace the Indians to a 10-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.
Mike Clevinger finally got back into the win column with his first victory since July 1 as a shaky outing from the right-hander was supported with the big outburst in the latter half of the ball game. The top three hitters in the Tribe’s lineup combined to go 8-for-15 with three walks, contributing four runs batted in and six runs scored.
The Indians had a pair of separate base runners in the first. Francisco Lindor worked Reds starter Homer Bailey for eight pitches, hitting a single to right to start the night. He would be caught stealing second. Jose Ramirez later reached on his own single, but he was stranded.
Clevinger had an easy first, but his offense stranded a runner at second after a two-out double by Yan Gomes the next half inning. The missed opportunity would hurt, as the Reds would take an early, but short-lived, lead in the home half. After a groundout by Scooter Gennett, Tucker Barnhart lofted a deep fly that bounced off the top of the left field wall and over for a solo shot to put the Reds up, 1-0. Clevinger would allow two more base runners on a single and a walk, but he escaped further harm with two strikeouts.
Bailey started the third inning strong, striking out Clevinger and Lindor for the first two outs of the inning, but the next eight pitches would change things as Michael Brantley singled to center and Ramirez launched his 35th homer of the season just over the glove of right fielder Phillip Ervin to put the Indians on top, 2-1. Yonder Alonso followed with a double to left-center, but he was stranded.
Clevinger worked out of a jam in the home half. A one-out double from Joey Votto and a walk by Eugenio Suarez put two on the bases. Gennett flied to left for the second out, but Clevinger walked another to load the bases. With pressure mounting, Mason Williams struck out swinging on three straight heaters from Clevinger to leave the ducks on the pond.
The Indians left them loaded in the fourth. Jason Kipnis singled to right. Gomes grounded to short, but on the fielder’s choice, both runners were safe on an error by shortstop Jose Peraza. The tandem moved up 90 feet on a balk by Bailey, but the bottom of the order could not drive in the runners as Greg Allen grounded back to the mound and Clevinger struck out swinging. Lindor worked a walk, but Brantley grounded to second to end the frame.
The Reds loaded the bases in the fourth for a second straight inning, but Clevinger contained Cincinnati. Ervin singled to start the inning and two outs later, Peraza and Votto each walked. Suarez missed out on a big chance by grounding back to the mound on a diving stop from the Tribe’s starter.
Cincinnati tied the game in the bottom of the fifth. Gennett led off the inning with a drive to right, tying the game at two with his 18th homer of the year.
With the game tied, the Indians erupted in their next trip to reclaim the lead for good. Bailey started the inning but got into trouble quickly. Allen singled with one out to bring up Clevinger. Manager Terry Francona turned to his bench, bringing in Yandy Diaz, who delivered the big hit in an eight-pitch battle by sending a deep drive to left-center to score Allen from second while putting Cleveland up, 3-2. Lindor drew an intentional walk and Reds skipper Jim Riggleman turned to his bullpen, bringing on Amir Garrett, but he added more fuel to the fire as Brantley doubled in a run with a hit to right. Ramirez was intentionally walked before a strikeout by Alonso for the second out. Melky Cabrera gave the big knockout blow with a two-run single to center, but the inning continued with three more runs on doubles by Kipnis and Gomes to give Cleveland a commanding 9-2 lead.
The Tribe tacked on another in the seventh as three straight singles off of Wily Peralta by Lindor, Brantley, and Ramirez led to the tenth run of the game.
Andrew Miller and Oliver Perez each pitched scoreless innings in relief, but Neil Ramirez allowed a home run to catcher Curt Casali in the bottom of the eighth. Dan Otero gave up two singles in the ninth, but left the score at 10-3 for the final.
The Indians (67-51) improved to a season-high 16 games over the .500 mark and are two games over even at 30-28 on the road. Cleveland pitching allowed ten hits and six walks, but held Cincinnati hitters to a 1-for-9 mark at the plate with runners in scoring position.
Clevinger allowed two runs on five hits, but walked a season-high six batters while striking out four. The strong offensive support earned him his eighth win of the campaign against seven losses.
The Reds (52-67) could not take advantage of the opportunities presented throughout the night. Bailey had pitched well enough early on, but he would be tagged for five earned runs on ten hits with two walks and five strikeouts by the time the six frame was over, taking his tenth loss of the year. Garrett was charged with four runs while allowing several inherited runners to cross. Brandon Dixon, an outfielder, pitched the ninth and recorded a swinging strikeout of Ramirez on a knuckleball.
Tribe bats were productive throughout the night, led by three-hit games from Brantley, Ramirez, and Gomes. Ramirez drove in three, while the two-three hitters both scored twice. Lindor, Cabrera, and Kipnis each had two hits and every spot in the lineup recorded at least one hit in the game. Lindor reached safely four times with a pair of walks and scored twice, pushing him over the 100 mark on the year.
The Indians have now scored 29 runs in their last two games against the Reds.
Prior to the game, Indians’ president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti met with the Indians clubhouse in Cincinnati to address the health of outfielder Leonys Martin. It was announced later that the hospitalized center fielder remained at the Cleveland Clinic in stable condition while recovering from a life-threatening bacterial infection.
“We’re optimistic that he’ll have a full recovery,” said Antonetti to reporters after the closed door session with the team. “He’s got a long path to get to full health in front of him. It’s going to take him some time, but we’re in a much better spot today than we were 24 to 36 hours ago.”
The Indians’ medical staff became aware of Martin taking ill on Tuesday night, but his condition had not improved in the morning. The team at the Cleveland Clinic found that he was suffering from a bacterial infection that had entered the bloodstream and had produced toxins that affected the function of multiple organs.
The Indians will send their ace to the mound on Tuesday in the middle game of the three-game set from Cincinnati. Corey Kluber (14-6, 2.74 ERA) will look to continue strong career numbers against the Reds, who he has defeated all three times that he has faced them in his career, but not since 2015. Twenty-four-year-old right-hander Sal Romano (7-9, 4.94) will get his second look at the Indians this season after allowing four runs on five hits with two walks and a strikeout in seven and one-third innings on the mound back in July.
Game time from Great American Ball Park is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.
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