Offense Strikes Early as Tribe Rolls over Halos; Indians 7, Angels 3

Seven runs scattered over the first three innings powered the Cleveland Indians to a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels in the series opener of their three-game set from Progressive Field.

The Indians’ run through the American League West continued on Friday as the Angels replaced the Astros in town, but they could not replicate Houston’s wins in two of the three games there earlier in the week. The Angels jumped out to an early lead two batters into the game, but the Indians came roaring back with a big offensive outburst to support the starting efforts of Mike Clevinger, who walked four but otherwise shut down his former club.

Los Angeles got on the board in the top of the first against the one-time Angels farmhand Clevinger, who struck out David Fletcher on three straight pitches to open the night. His first offering to Mike Trout, however, was turned into a souvenir. Trout’s MLB-lead tying 36th homer gave the Angels a 1-0 lead.

Taylor Cole got the start as the opener for Dillon Peters, but he was unable to do his job as five straight Indians reached base to start the home half of the first. Francisco Lindor drew a leadoff walk and moved over to second on a single to center by Oscar Mercado. Carlos Santana tied the game with an RBI-single to right and Yasiel Puig drove home his first run as a member of the Indians on a single to give Cleveland a 2-1 lead. Jose Ramirez battled Cole to a 2-2 count before doubling to the wall in right to score Santana to make it 3-1. Franmil Reyes struck out for the first out of the game before Angels skipper Brad Ausmus had to go to his bullpen to bring on Peters. He got Jason Kipnis to ground out to Albert Pujols, but he was not able to get two as Pujols misplayed the ball and only got the out at first while Puig scored from third. Roberto Perez ended the scoring onslaught as the eighth man to the plate on a grounder to short.

Clevinger retired the side in order in the second before the Tribe lineup got back to work against the left-hander Peters. After a strikeout by Jordan Luplow, the lineup flipped over and Lindor sent a 3-1 pitch to center for a one-out single. Mercado doubled to left to put two in scoring position and Santana drove one in with a sacrifice fly to left to give the Indians a 5-1 lead. A single through the right side of the infield by Puig made it 6-1. Ramirez singled to put runners on the corners before Reyes grounded into a force at second.

Clevinger had to fight out of some trouble in the third as the Angels tried to rally. A leadoff walk by Luis Rengifo opened the inning before a strikeout by Max Stassi and a fly out by Fletcher. Trout kept the inning alive with a double to left that put two in scoring position, but Shohei Ohtani grounded out to second.

Puig – David Maxwell/Getty Images

Perez added to the Cleveland lead in the third to make it a 7-1 game. He drove Peters’ payoff pitch over the wall in right-center for his 19th blast of the season.

Clevinger walked Justin Upton to open the fourth before retiring the next nine hitters. That streak ended in the top of the seventh when Kole Calhoun battled for an eight-pitch walk. Pujols singled to center and a fielder’s choice by Andrelton Simmons forced Pujols at second for the first out before manager Terry Francona went to his bullpen for Nick Goody. He walked Rengifo to load the bases, but Goody got the next two as Matt Thaiss popped out to short before Fletcher struck out swinging.

Oliver Perez walked Trout to begin the eighth, but he got the next three in order to protect the six-run advantage. Peters retired the side after the stretch and used a double play ball to get out of the eighth with ease.

The Angels threatened in the ninth, but could not cut the deficit enough. Facing Adam Cimber, Pujols struck out before a single by Kevan Smith. Rengifo was hit by a pitch and Thaiss doubled home both runs to make it 7-3. Fletcher and Trout could not reduce the difference further, as he got back-to-back fly outs to Puig in right.

Clevinger improved to 6-2 on the season with six and one-third innings of one-run baseball. He walked four, but those did not come back to haunt him as he allowed just three hits. He struck out eight and threw 107 total pitches while getting an even split of ground ball outs to fly outs.

Clevinger has now won five straight decisions.

Cole took the loss as the opener, allowing four runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout in just one-third of an inning. Peters finished the game with seven and two-thirds innings of work, giving up three runs on eight hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

Seven of nine Indians hitters recorded base knocks, with Lindor, Mercado, Puig, Ramirez, and Kipnis each tallying two-hit efforts. Lindor and Mercado scored twice while Santana and Puig each had two runs driven in. Puig is 3-for-7 in his first two games in the American League.

Before the game, the Indians recalled relievers Phil Maton and Hunter Wood from Triple-A Columbus, while placing Tyler Olson (shingles) and Danny Salazar (right groin strain) on the 10-day injured list.

The Indians will look to grab an early series win on Saturday night. Adam Plutko (3-2, 4.83 ERA) will make his tenth start of the season while in search of his first win since June 14. The Angels will turn to right-hander Felix Pena (8-3, 4.66).

First pitch on Saturday night is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

Photo: David Maxwell/Getty Images

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