Tribe Trounces Phillies, Ties Tampa in Wild Card; Indians 10, Phillies 1

The Cleveland Indians used a six-run seventh to cap ten unanswered runs off of Philadelphia starter Vince Velasquez and the Phillies bullpen to earn a needed series win in a 10-1 final on Sunday night.

After falling behind a run in the third inning, the Indians rallied back for a run in the fourth and three in the fifth before blowing the game wide open in the late innings. Adam Plutko got a quick hook from manager Terry Francona in the fifth inning with the game hanging in the balance, but reliever Carlos Carrasco shut down the Phillies with two and two-thirds scoreless in relief to give the Indians an opportunity to get on top and put the game out of reach.

Plutko worked around a double by Bryce Harper with two down in the first while the Indians got a two-out single by Carlos Santana against Velasquez. After perfect innings from the respective starters in the second, Philadelphia claimed an early lead as the dreaded leadoff walk proved costly. Scott Kingery drew the free pass to start the third, moved to second on a groundout by Adam Haseley, scooted over to third on a fly by Cesar Hernandez, and scored on a double blasted to left-center by J.T. Realmuto to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.

Mercado & Puig – David Maxwell/Getty Images

Velasquez retired the Tribe in order in the bottom of the third to prevent a Cleveland response, while Plutko bounced back with a 1-2-3 fourth against Jay Bruce, Jean Segura, and Brad Miller.

Cleveland knotted the game up in the bottom of the inning against Velasquez to make it a ball game again. After Oscar Mercado grounded to second to open the inning, Santana and Yasiel Puig both singled to put runners on the corners. Mike Freeman grounded to short, but the Phillies could not convert the double play, which allowed Santana to score the tying run. Franmil Reyes struck out swinging to leave a runner at first.

Plutko’s day lasted just three more batters after the Indians evened things up. Kingery started another inning on base, this time doubling to right-center. Haseley singled to left to put runners on the corners before Hernandez popped out to third. Francona retrieved Plutko, still at 78 pitches, for the right-hander Carrasco, who got a big double play grounder to short to end the inning and prevent the go-ahead run from crossing safely.

Trouble in the infield by the Phillies in the bottom of the fifth allowed the Indians to take the lead off of Velasquez. Greg Allen reached on an error at short by Segura. Roberto Perez sacrificed back to Velasquez, but his own error allowed both runners to advance safely. Ryan Flaherty bunted into an out at third, where Allen was forced for the first out. Francisco Lindor moved both runners up 90 feet with a grounder to first that was nearly played into an error by Rhys Hoskins as Philly continued to play hot and loose with the baseball. Velasquez got ahead of Mercado with two foul balls before the Tribe’s rookie outfielder blasted a two-out, three-run home run to left to give the Indians a 4-1 lead. A double by Santana knocked Velasquez out of the game, but Nick Vincent prevented any further damage after a walk by Puig by getting Freeman to ground to second.

Both sides were quiet in the sixth as Carrasco struck out a pair. He allowed his only base runner in the seventh when Kingery reached on another double, but his two-out hit was wasted as Haseley struck out swinging.

Philadelphia needed three pitchers to complete the bottom of the seventh as the Indians broke the game open. Mike Morin gave up a leadoff double to Flaherty and a single to Lindor that scored a run. Lindor advanced to second on the Phillies’ third error of the game on the play. Mercado drew a walk and Santana was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Gabe Kapler exited the Philadelphia dugout for Cole Irvin, who lost a long battle with Puig as he unloaded the bases on a three-run double to break the game open at 8-1. Irvin struck out Freeman swinging for the first out before Kapler went back to his bullpen for Edubray Ramos, but his first pitch of the night to Reyes was belted the opposite way for a two-run home run to make it a 10-1 contest. Allen struck out and Perez grounded to third to end the rally.

Carrasco – David Maxwell/Getty Images

Oliver Perez retired both batters that he faced in the eighth and Nick Goody wrapped up the inning with a pop to second. Goody remained on for the ninth and set down the side in order, striking out a pair of pinch-hitters to send the fans home with a comfortable nine-run win.

The Indians moved to 92-64 on the season with a series win over the Phillies, who dropped to 79-75. Cleveland’s win was big as both clubs in front of it in the American League Wild Card race were losers on Sunday. The Indians are now tied with Tampa Bay for the second Wild Card spot and trail Oakland by two games for the top spot. Cleveland remains four games in back of Minnesota with six to play.

Plutko lasted just one out into the fifth as Francona hooked him quickly when the Phillies started to threaten. He allowed one run on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Carrasco earned a well-deserved win, allowing just a hit and striking out three in two and two-thirds innings of work. He is now 6-7 on the season.

Velasquez got off to a good start before running into issues in the fifth. His final line was four and two-thirds innings of four-run (one earned) ball with no walks and six strikeouts. Three of five relievers to follow him tacked on to the Tribe’s score, with Morin charged with four runs on two hits, a walk, and a hit batter while not retiring anyone.

Mercado and Puig each drove in three. Mercado’s homer was his 14th of the year. Reyes added his ninth with the Indians and his 36th overall on the campaign.

After a day off on Monday, the Indians will kick off a three-game set in Chicago with the White Sox, looking to improve upon a 7-9 record against them this season. Mike Clevinger (12-3, 2.54 ERA) will start the series opener on Tuesday night against left-hander Hector Santiago (1-1, 5.65).

Photo: David Maxwell/Getty Images

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