Ramirez’s Two-Run Shot Completes Tribe’s Sweep of Tigers; Indians 6, Tigers 3

The question has been asked quite a few times over the course of the season, but is once again pertinent – is Jose Ramirez back?

Ramirez’s red-hot bat remained an effective weapon for the Indians of late as he drove in the final three Tribe runs, including a key two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to break a 3-3 tie, as Cleveland completed a four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers behind a 6-3 win on Thursday night.

Trevor Bauer was on the bump for the Tribe and he kept the Indians in the ball game after some early trouble with the long ball. He struck out ten batters over six and two-thirds innings of work to make up for the two early homers and some good work out of the bullpen behind him helped Cleveland (55-40) move to a season-high 15 games over the .500 mark with a fifth straight win while remaining within four games of the victorious Minnesota Twins.

Bauer – Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Facing a possible pitcher on the move in left-hander Matthew Boyd, the Indians took an early lead in the first. Carlos Santana doubled with two down and Jordan Luplow drove an 0-2 pitch over the wall in left to put the Tribe up a pair.

Niko Goodrum cut the deficit in half with one swing in the top of the second. On Bauer’s payoff pitch, he parked a fastball over the wall in right to make it a 2-1 game.

Boyd struck out a pair in the home half before the Tigers gave him a lead to work with on another big two-out hit. Jordy Mercer singled with one down and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Bauer recorded his second strikeout of the inning, Harold Castro caught a cutter over the plate and powered it over the wall in center for a two-out, two-run home run to give Detroit a 3-2 lead.

Boyd retired eleven straight before the Indians rallied in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Jason Kipnis singled to right and Jake Bauers added a single of his own. An error by Nicholas Castellanos put both runners in scoring position. Tyler Naquin knotted the game up at three with a sacrifice fly to left that scored Kipnis before Boyd struck out Francisco Lindor swinging.

Bauer had to work out of a two-out pickle in the sixth. After striking out Victor Reyes and Castro to start the inning, Miguel Cabrera walked and moved to second on a single by Castellanos. Bauer handled the mess from there, striking out Christin Stewart swinging.

The Indians got another homer in the sixth to tip the scales in their favor. Boyd struck out Oscar Mercado and got Santana to ground to third before Luplow reached on a single to center. Ramirez got a four-seamer in on a 1-1 pitch and sent it over the 19-foot wall in left to give the Indians a 5-3 lead.

Pitching with his first lead since the third, Bauer returned to the center of the diamond for the seventh. Goodrum opened the inning with a single and a stolen base. Gordon Beckham struck out swinging. John Hicks pinch-hit for Bobby Wilson and was cut down swinging for the second out before Bauer walked Mercer. Oliver Perez came on in relief for manager Terry Francona and got the job done, getting Reyes to fly out to center as Mercado made the catch before hitting the wall there.

The Tigers threatened in the eighth against the Indians bullpen. Castro singled off of Perez to end his night. Adam Cimber entered the game and gave up a single to Cabrera to put two on, but he got a big double play ball from Castellanos (after a lengthy review). Brad Hand took over with the tying run at the plate and a big runner at third in Castro and struck out Stewart to end the inning.

Cleveland added an insurance run in the bottom of the frame against Trevor Rosenthal. Mercado drew a leadoff walk and made his way to third after an errant pickoff moved him to second and a fly out by Santana put him 90 feet from the plate. Greg Allen, pinch-hitting for Luplow, drew a walk, and Ramirez pushed the run across on a fielder’s choice force at second to give the Indians a 6-3 lead.

Hand gave up a leadoff single to Goodrum in the ninth before breaking out his slider. He struck out Beckham on a fastball after a diet of breaking stuff. Hicks was cut down on three straight pitches and Mercer followed suit on four as Hand earned his 26th save in 27 chances this season.

The Indians are now 12-1 on the season against the Tigers and victors of each of the last eleven games between the two clubs.

Bauer made 120 pitches on the night, throwing 80 for strikes and getting 23 swings and misses. He worked six and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs (all crossing on homers) on five hits with a pair of walks and ten strikeouts. He moved to 9-7 on the year and lowered his ERA to 3.67.

Ramirez – Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Boyd fell to 6-8 on the season after the Indians’ rally in the middle innings ruined his quality start pursuit. He worked six frames, giving up five runs on six hits, walking none while striking out eight. Like Bauer, he surrendered a pair of costly home runs that accounted for four of the five runs that he allowed on the night.

Ramirez went 1-for-4, driving in three runs while hitting his ninth home run of the season. He has hit safely in each of his last ten games and has an extra base hit in each of his last six contests (four doubles, two homers). Luplow had two hits, scored twice, and drove in a pair. Kipnis and Bauers each had two hits.

Goodrum had a three-hit day for the Tigers while hitting his eighth home run of the season. Castro had two hits and a pair of runs while hitting his second homer of the year.

With their four-game sweep in the books and five straight wins on the ledger, the Indians will look to continue their winning ways as the Kansas City Royals come to town to close out the Indians’ ten-game homestand to open the second half. Right-hander Shane Bieber (8-3, 3.49 ERA) will draw the starting nod in the 7:10 PM ET opener on Friday night.

Photo: Ron Schwane/Getty Images

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