Bats Awaken After No-No in Rout of Reds; CLE 9, CIN 2

The Cleveland bats made up for lost time on Saturday as the Indians routed the Cincinnati Reds, 9-2, from Progressive Field.

After suffering through nine innings without a hit in the series opener with the Reds on Friday night, the Tribe bats came out swinging in the first and never slowed down to even up the three-game set between the two clubs at a game each. The offensive outburst backed yet another strong start from Aaron Civale, who remained perfect on the year with seven quality innings on the mound.

After a 1-2-3 first inning from the Tribe right-hander, the Indians made Reds right-hander Luis Castillo pay for an early mistake. A diet of fastballs put Amed Rosario on with a free pass with one out in the bottom of the first. Jose Ramirez popped to short for the second out, but Eddie Rosario laced a double to left, playing Rosario with the game’s first run.

Civale worked out of a two-out jam in the second after giving up back-to-back singles to Tyler Naquin and Tyler Stephenson. He got Kyle Farmer to fly to center to strand a pair.

The Indians got some help in the home half of the inning to extend their lead. Josh Naylor drew a leadoff walk. A fielding error in left by Naquin allowed Jake Bauers to reach safely. Austin Hedges sacrificed both runners up 90 feet and a sacrifice fly from Andres Gimenez made it a 2-0 game. Cesar Hernandez struck out looking as Castillo worked out of it.

The Reds scratched across a run in the third. Nick Senzel singled and moved to third on a double by Jesse Winker. Nick Castellanos walked on five pitches to load the bases and Mike Moustakas plated a run with a sacrifice fly to center. With two still on the base paths, Civale got Eugenio Suarez to pop to short to leave the runners.

Castillo retired the side in order in the bottom of the third and Civale countered with a scoreless fourth before the Indians broke the game open with a big two-out hit. Franmil Reyes flied to center to start the inning, but Naylor and Bauers each singled to put runners on the corners. Hedges came through big with a single to right to knock in Naylor with the Tribe’s third run. Gimenez grounded to first, but an error at second by Farmer allowed all runners to advance safely to load the bases. Hernandez stepped to the box hitless in his first two at bats of the game, but he parked a 2-2 pitch into the right field corner for a bases clearing triple, doubling Cleveland’s lead to 6-1.

Civale – Ron Schwane/Getty Images

The Indians were unable to add on in the fifth against Cionel Perez, leaving a pair of two-out base runners, but they struck through in the sixth against Ryan Hendrix. Gimenez singled but was forced at second on a fielder’s choice by Hernandez. A. Rosario walked to put two on for Ramirez, who pushed both runners home with a double to right. E. Rosario flied to left for the second out, but Reyes came through with his first hit of the day, singling to center to score Ramirez to make it 9-1. Sal Romano replaced Hendrix and gave up a single to Naylor before retiring Bauers on a liner to right.

Civale finished his outing strong, walking one in the seventh before punching out Jonathan India and Senzel to close out his good effort.

Cal Quantrill replaced him in the eighth, giving up a single and a walk in a scoreless frame. Nick Wittgren entered in the ninth for some work, giving up a home run to Naquin on the tenth pitch of the at bat before getting the next three in order to end action on the night from downtown Cleveland.

The win pushed the Indians back to 18-14 on the season, while the Reds dropped back below even at 15-16.

Civale (5-0) got steady run support and handled his business on the mound, limiting traffic and keeping the Reds off of the scoreboard. He worked seven full innings, allowing a run on five hits with a pair of walks and two strikeouts. Castillo (1-4) lasted just four innings for the Reds, charged with six runs (four earned) on five hits with two walks and two Ks.

Every Indians starter reached base safely. Naylor had two hits, two walks, and scored twice. Ramirez was 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI. Bauers had two hits to push his season average to .204. Hernandez scored three on his triple in a 1-for-5 day.

Naquin’s homer in the ninth was his seventh of the season. He was the lone Cincy hitter with a multi-hit day.

The Indians will look to even the Ohio Cup battle at three wins each in Sunday’s season finale between the two teams. Tyler Mahle will draw the starting nod for the Reds, while Sam Hentges is expected to make his first Major League start for the Indians. Weather permitting, first pitch is expected at 1:10 PM ET from Progressive Field on Sunday afternoon.

Photo: Ron Schwane/Getty Images

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