Fresh off the signing of a four-year contract with the Cleveland Indians, infielder Jose Ramirez delivered in a big way in an 8-5 win over the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park Monday night.
With the Indians trailing the Rangers, 5-1, Ramirez delivered in the form of a two-run home run, a swing that ignited a seven-run effort on the way to a come-from-behind victory.
“You could just feel there was a little more energy in the dugout because it’s not the best feeling in the fourth inning and Darvish is pitching the way he is, but it got us close,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
“So everything we did after that, it mattered. I also think Kluber deserves credit, and also, our bullpen for keeping it right there because you could tell they were feeling pretty good about themselves.”
Cleveland Indians open regular season at Texas Rangers
Down by four runs heading into the top of the fourth inning, the Indians responded with a pair of runs on a home run from Ramirez off of Rangers starter Yu Darvish as the Indians trimmed the deficit to two, 5-3.
With one out in the top of the fourth, first baseman Edwin Encarnacion hit a 3-1 pitch into left field for a single. Then, ahead in the count, 2-0, Ramirez drove a pitch from Darvish over the wall in center field for the Indians’ first home run of the season.
“There’s a big difference between being down four and being down two,” Indians starter Corey Kluber said. “Obviously, you feel like you’re a lot more in the game at that point, so I just tried to continue it from that point on, keep it there and not let it get any worse.”
Then, with just one swing of the bat, Encarnacion drew the Indians even with the Rangers in the top of the eighth inning.
After left fielder Michael Brantley flied out to center field for the first out of the inning, Encarnacion stepped into the batter’s box and took a 1-2 offering from Rangers reliever Matt Bush deep and over the wall in left field to make it a 5-5 game.
The Indians plated a trio of runs against closer Sam Dyson in the top of the ninth inning and took an 8-5 lead over the Rangers into the bottom half of the final frame.
Center fielder Tyler Naquin got the inning rolling with a lead-off single to center, moved into scoring position when third baseman Yandy Diaz grounded out to his counterpart at “the hot corner,” and came around to score when right fielder Abraham Almonte lined an RBI single to center.
The Indians added a second run when Almonte came around to score after designated hitter Carlos Santana smacked his second double of the game to right-center field. Left fielder Michael Brantley drove in the third and final run of the frame with an RBI single to right field.
“With our lineup, if we can keep the team in the game, I think we’ve got to like our chances,” Kluber said. “Obviously, there’s going to be nights where we’re not able to fight back late when we’re in a four-run hole, but I think we’ve got a lot of good hitters in our lineup, and if we can give them a chance, we’ve got to feel pretty good about ourselves.”