The long slumping Indians lineup jumped all over left-hander Manny Banuelos and the White Sox bullpen as Cleveland and Carlos Carrasco cruised to an easy 9-0 victory from Chicago on Tuesday afternoon.
The month of May has not been favorable to the depleted Indians offense, but the team looked to salvage their road trip with a win in the finale from Chicago on Tuesday afternoon. With a 5-7 mark coming in on the day and with three runs or fewer scored in eight of the 12 contests, the Cleveland lineup was in desperate need for a breakout game at the plate.
The starting nine provided exactly that.
Carrasco had to pitch himself out of a little trouble in the first frame, as Charlie Tilson started the home half with a leadoff single. After a strikeout and a liner to right, Yonder Alonso singled to left to put two on for James McCann. He grounded into a force at second for the final out of the inning.
Banuelos faced the minimum over the first two innings, erasing a first inning one-out single by Jason Kipnis on a double play grounder by Carlos Santana. In the third, the Indians got on the board with a big drive to center. Jake Bauers started the inning with a walk, but was caught stealing second with Roberto Perez at the dish. Perez ended his at bat with a clout to center, with his fifth homer of the season giving Cleveland a 1-0 lead.
The Indians added two more runs in the fourth as they began to open the game up. Kipnis flied to right before a nine-pitch battle by Santana went the way of the Tribe slugger, who drew a walk. Two pitches later, Jordan Luplow got Banuelos for the third time this season, homering to right-center to give the Indians a 3-0 lead.
Carrasco left another runner at second in the fourth before the Indians gave him even more cushion on the mound with a third straight inning of run support. Bauers started the fifth with a leadoff homer to right, pushing the lead to 4-0. A walk by Banuelos of Perez ended his outing as manager Rick Renteria went to his bullpen for Josh Osich. He got the first two outs of the inning before Kipnis doubled to deep right center to make it a 5-0 game. Santana made it a six-run edge with a single to left to score Kipnis from second, but he was thrown out at second to end the inning trying to advance.
Osich returned to the mound in the sixth, but was greeted rudely by the visiting club. Luplow hit his fourth homer of the year to start the inning, driving the ball to center to give the Indians a 7-0 lead. That advantage grew five pitches later, as Jose Ramirez joined the fun with a homer of his own to left to make it 8-0.
Carrasco left after seven innings, facing the minimum over his final three frames on the mound. The Indians added another run in the eighth when newly called up Oscar Mercado was hit by a pitch with one out by Juan Minaya, moved to second on a walk by Bauers, and came in to score on a single to right by Perez.
The Indians moved to 22-19 on the year and 11-12 on the year, concluding their five-game hectic road trip through Oakland and Chicago with a 2-3 record. The White Sox dropped to 19-22 on the year and dropped to three games in back of Cleveland and 6.5 behind Minnesota in the American League Central.
Carrasco’s second straight scoreless effort on the mound against the White Sox earned him his fourth win of the season. He worked seven innings, allowing six singles and no walks while striking out six. In his last two starts against the White Sox, he has worked 12 scoreless innings with eight hits and 12 strikeouts. In the month of May, he is now 2-0 in three starts with just four runs allowed (all on solo homers) on 15 hits with no walks and 21 strikeouts over 19 2/3 innings.
“He established fastball. Off that came the changeup and the breaking ball,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “Once you have to respect 94, 95, then he starts breaking out the offspeed. Gets really tough to hit. He has that ability.”
The Indians used five home runs on the day to guide the offense, including four solo shots. Luplow was one of four Cleveland hitters (Kipnis, Bauers, and Perez) to post a multi-hit game, hitting his third and four homers of the year in the blowout. He became the seventh player in last 25 years whose first three homers of the season came off of the same pitcher (Banuelos).
Luplow is now hitting .314 since recall from Columbus with four homers and six RBI.
“To get some right-handed presence in the lineup is huge for us,” shared Francona. “To see him feeling confident right now and feeling dangerous will really help us.”
Mercado was recalled from Triple-A Columbus prior to the game to make his Major League debut. Hitting sixth and playing in left field, he went 0-for-3, striking out three times while getting hit by a pitch. In his first time on base in the Majors, he later came around to score his first big league run.
A spot was available on the roster for Mercado because the team placed outfielder Tyler Naquin on the 10-day injured list with a left calf strain.
The Indians will take Wednesday off before opening an eleven-game homestand against Baltimore, Oakland, and Tampa Bay. The Orioles will be in town for four straight over the weekend, beginning Thursday night.
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