The improbable return of Jose Ramirez, one month removed from breaking his right hamate bone, powered the Cleveland Indians over the Chicago White Sox, 11-0, on Tuesday night from Guaranteed Rate Field on the southside of Chicago.
One half of the heart and soul of the Tribe made a shocking return to action on Tuesday as the two-time All-Star third baseman was activated from the 10-day injured list and the move immediately paid off as Ramirez homered from each side of the plate in his first two at bats to post a career-high seven RBI in a story book comeback, powering the Indians to a big win from Chi-Town.
Facing the Sox’s bullpen in the series opener, the Indians jumped out to a big lead against right-hander Carson Fulmer. After the Chicago opener retired Francisco Lindor and Oscar Mercado, Carlos Santana walked on four straight from Fulmer. Yasiel Puig took the count from 0-2 to 3-2, then fouled off four straight pitches before taking the tenth pitch of the at bat the other way to right for a base hit. With runners on the corners, Jordan Luplow drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases for Ramirez, who turned on a 3-1 fastball in and parked it over the wall in the right field corner for a two-out grand slam to put the Tribe up, 4-0. Franmil Reyes grounded to short to end the frame.
Cleveland delivered for the second straight inning, this time against left-hander Hector Santiago. Leading off, Roberto Perez homered on a 3-1 fastball with his second fastest hit of the season and his 24th home run to give the Indians a 5-0 lead.
Santiago came back out for the third, but ran into more trouble. Santana struck out, but Puig doubled and Luplow walked for the second straight at bat. The next pitch to Ramirez, hitting from the right side of the plate this time, was sent high and deep to left for a three-run blast, extending the Cleveland lead to 8-0 on Ramirez’s 22nd homer of the season and second of the night. The Indians left a pair after two-out singles by Perez and Mike Freeman.
The Indians threatened again against Santiago in the fourth. With two down, Puig doubled to right and Luplow walked, setting the stage for Ramirez. This time, Santiago won the encounter, striking Ramirez out swinging to end the inning.
Santiago was victimized with three more runs of damage in the fifth. Reyes doubled before the southpaw struck out Perez and Freeman. Lindor kept the inning alive with a single to left to put runners on the corners and Mercado cleared the deck with a three-run blast to left-center to make it an 11-0 game.
Chicago slowed down the Tribe over the rest of the night, but the damage was plenty done. It all proved to be more than enough support for Clevinger, who worked seven scoreless innings. He struck out the side in the first and got two more in the second, working around a two-out walk by Zack Collins. The Sox threatened in the bottom of the third on a two-out double by Leury Garcia that was followed by an infield single by Tim Anderson, but Jose Abreu grounded out. Collins singled in the fourth with two down and Abreu reached with a one-out double in the sixth, but neither base runner moved as Clevinger worked out of both situations. Collins started the seventh with his second single of the night, but he was stranded at first as Clevinger retired the final three batters that he faced, fanning Daniel Palka for his tenth strikeout of the game.
The Indians (93-64) picked up a game on Oakland in the Wild Card race, as they fell to the Los Angeles Angels later in the evening. Both Minnesota and Tampa Bay were victorious in their games to maintain their leads over Cleveland in the AL Central and AL Wild Card’s second spot, respectively. Chicago is now 68-88 on the year.
Ramirez went 2-for-3 in his return to action, hitting a grand slam and three-run home run before striking out. He was lifted with the Tribe in front by plenty and replaced in the lineup by Yu Chang. It was Ramirez’s first game action since August 24 and saw him using a brand new “axe-handle” bat at the plate.
Puig went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two runs scored to push his average with the Tribe to .312. Luplow got on base all three trips with three walks and two runs scored before he was replaced in the outfield by Jake Bauers. Perez and Freeman each had two hits.
Two of Chicago’s six hits came from Collins, who went 2-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout out of the sixth spot in the lineup. Santiago was charged with seven runs on nine hits, throwing 100 pitches in that span with eight strikeouts, three walks, and three homers allowed.
Game two of three from Guaranteed Rate Field will be another 8:10 PM ET start on Wednesday. Chicago will send out left-hander Ross Detwiler (2-5, 6.98 ERA), who was wild in his last start against Cleveland. The Indians will turn to All-Star Shane Bieber (15-7, 3.23).
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