The Cleveland Indians have gotten into quite the groove offensively over the last two games.
Fresh off of a 12-run showing in a series-finale win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Progressive Field Thursday, the Indians took their show on the road and plated eight runs in an 8-1 victory against the American League Central Division-leading Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Because of the win over the Twins, the Indians moved to within one game of a first-place tie with Minnesota in the Central Division standings.
Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and catcher Yan Gomes sparked Cleveland’s offense with three RBI each, and outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall, who drove in five runs after being a mid-game substitution Thursday, plated another two in Friday’s win.
Cleveland is 4-0 at Target Field and 18-14 on the road this season.
The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning against 27-year old Twins pitcher Nik Turley.
Third baseman Jose Ramirez started the inning with a single to center field, and first baseman Carlos Santana followed with a single to shallow left-center field. Gomes made it three straight base hits when he singled to deep right field, and that drove in Ramirez for the first run of the game.
The Indians extended their lead to 4-0 with three runs in their next plate appearance.
Back from neck spasms after two days out of the lineup, second baseman Jason Kipnis drew a lead-off walk and stole second with left fielder Daniel Robertson at the plate. Then, shortstop Francisco Lindor drew a walk from Turley on just four pitches, which set the table for Encarnacion.
On the first pitch he saw, Encarnacion belted a three-run home run to left field, and his 14th round-tripper gave the Indians the four-run advantage.
The offense kept the good times rolling when they pushed across four runs in the top of the fifth inning, which made it an 8-0 game. That rally started with two out and nobody on base.
Encarnacion drew a four-pitch walk, and then, on a 2-0 pitch from Turley, Ramirez smashed a double to deep left-center field, which put two runners in scoring position. After an intentional walk to Santana, Gomes drove in both Encarnacion and Ramirez with a two-run single to left field.
Chisenhall followed with a two-run double to the wall in right field, which brought around both Santana and Gomes, and drove Turley from the game.
Turley allowed nine hits and eight runs, all earned, with four walks and three strikeouts over 4.2 innings against the Indians. He threw 43 strikes and 33 balls in a losing effort.
Although Indians starter Carlos Carrasco struggled with locating his pitches in the seventh inning and failed to make it out of the frame, he allowed just one run, four hits, including a solo home run, and three walks with seven strikeouts over 6.1 innings of work.
Carrasco is now 5-1 with a 2.89 earned run average in road starts this season. Opponents are hitting just .197 against Carrasco in their home parks.