On a day when the Cleveland Indians announced a two-game regular-season series against the Minnesota Twins in 2018 will be played at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, two native sons lifted the team to a 5-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in Oriole Park at Camden Yards Wednesday.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor (Caguas, Puerto Rico) and catcher Roberto Perez (Mayaguez) combined for four hits, and three of those produced runs in the victory.
With the win, the Indians improved to 38-32 overall and 23-15 away from Progressive Field on the season, as well as 6-1 on the current road trip, while the Orioles dropped below the .500 mark, 35-36. The Indians maintained a 1.5-game lead over the Twins in the American League Central Division standings.
The Indians took a 3-0 lead with key hits from Perez and Lindor in the top of the fifth inning.
Center fielder Bradley Zimmer got the rally started with a one-out single to center on an 0-2 pitch from Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, and Perez followed with an RBI double up the alley in left-center field, which put the Indians in front.
Then, on a 2-2 pitch from Gausman, Lindor belted a two-run home run to center field, and his 14th blast of the season gave Cleveland a 3-0 lead.
Lindor made it a 4-0 game when he singled home Zimmer with one out in the top of the ninth inning. Zimmer was on base with a single to right field and moved into scoring position by stealing second base on a 1-0 pitch from Miguel Castro with Perez at the plate.
Later in the frame, Perez scored on a single from second baseman Jason Kipnis.
Starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco gave the Indians six strong innings before getting chased from the game after three straight hits to lead off the bottom of the seventh.
Carrasco allowed four hits over the first six innings of work and posted a season-high 10 strikeouts.
Carrasco struck out multiple Orioles in the bottom of the first, third, fifth and sixth innings, and thanks to some help from bullpen ace Andrew Miller, did not surrender a run.
Miller came into the game with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the seventh inning, and induced a fielder’s choice force out at home plate before striking out both catcher Caleb Joseph and pinch hitter Ruben Tejada to strand three runners.
Miller needed just 10 pitches to get through the seventh inning, and then, worked a 1-2-3 eighth.
Miller, who struck out a franchise-record 75 batters in his first 50 regular-season innings with the Indians, needed just 58 frames to register 100 strikeouts.
In addition to Lindor and Perez, Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez extended his hitting streak to nine consecutive games with a single to left-center field in the top of the fourth inning. Then, with a ninth-inning single, Ramirez became the first Indians player since Roy Hughes (1936) to have nine straight multi-hit games.