The Cleveland Indians’ Nos. 4 through 7 hitters sure had themselves a ballgame against the Detroit Tigers.
The four Indians hitters, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, third baseman Jose Ramirez, right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall and first baseman Carlos Santana, each had at least two RBI, and that offensive output led to an 11-8 victory and series win over the Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit Sunday afternoon.
With the win over the Tigers (36-45), the Indians (44-37) maintained their multi-game advantage over the Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals in the American League Central Division standings.
The Indians’ hit parade started in the top of the second inning when Ramirez smacked a one-out single to center field off of Tigers starter Justin Verlander. Then, after getting down in the count, 1-2, Chisenhall fouled off four of the next five pitches before belting a two-run home run into the seats in right field.
Chisenhall’s 11th home run of the season gave the Indians a 2-0 lead. He is two home runs away from equaling his single-season career high of 13 round-trippers, which he set during the 2014 season.
The Indians added another two runs in the top of the third inning.
Ramirez smashed a two-out solo home run over the wall in right field, and then, Santana doubled to the gap in right-centerfield, which plated Chisenhall, who drew a walk from Verlander one at-bat prior to the two-base hit.
Although the Tigers got a run back in the bottom of the third inning, the Indians broke open the game with four runs in the top of the fourth.
Second baseman Jason Kipnis led off the frame with a walk, but was erased when shortstop Francisco Lindor grounded into a fielder’s choice. Left fielder Michael Brantley moved Lindor over to third base with a single to right field, and Encarnacion brought him in with an opposite-field single to right.
After Brantley stole third and Encarnacion stole second on a busted play, Ramirez cleared the bases and gave the Indians an 8-1 lead over the Tigers with a three-run homer to right field.
Ramirez became the first player in Indians history to homer from both sides of the plate in a single game twice in the same season. He previously accomplished the feat in the first game of a doubleheader sweep of the Twins at Target Field in June.
The Indians added three more runs in the top of the sixth inning.
Although Lindor was erased on a fielder’s choice from Brantley, Encarnacion belted a triple to the wall in center field and brought in Brantley. After Ramirez was intentionally walked, Chisenhall worked a free pass, and Santana pushed them both across the plate when he crushed a double to the wall in left field.
Indians reliever Boone Logan gave up five hits and four earned runs against the Tigers in the bottom of the ninth inning, and then, fellow reliever Shawn Armstrong came in and served up a two-run home run to right field off the bat of Nicholas Castellanos.
Ramirez led the way with a three-for-four showing with the two home runs, four RBI, four runs scored and a walk, while Santana drove in three runners with two hits in four trips to the plate in the series-clinching victory.
Encarnacion and Chisenhall each drove in two runs.
Over just 3.1 innings of work, Verlander allowed seven earned runs, nine hits and three walks, but did not register a strikeout, a first for him since April 28, 2007. Detroit lost that Verlander start, 11-3, to the Twins at home.
While the offense was dialed in against Verlander, Indians starter Mike Clevinger worked around some control issues to limit the Tigers’ potent lineup. Despite having plenty of baserunners after allowing two hits and five walks, Clevinger struck out seven batters and gave up just one earned run over six innings of work.