CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians have steamrolled their way to a 15-game winning streak with the combination of standout pitching, from the starters and bullpen alike, and consistent early-game offensive production.
And while the Indians have gotten plenty of production from the heavy hitters in the lineup, namely DH Edwin Encarnacion and infielder Jose Ramirez, the younger players and September call-ups have been succeeding at the Major League level.
“For sure, that’s one of the reasons why you reward guys for having good years,” Indians starter Corey Kluber said. “Then, you bring them up, they get that experience, but then, to not only get the experience, but come up and string together some hits, get a home run for Greg (Allen), that’s awesome. It’s a good experience for them, but also, it gives them confidence to come up here and have some success.”
Shortstop Francisco Lindor led off the game with a triple to the wall in deep right-center field on an 0-1 pitch from White Sox starter Mike Pelfrey, and came around to score when left fielder Austin Jackson doubled to center field.
Lindor led off the top of the second inning with a solo home run to right field, and then, in the top of the third, second baseman Erik Gonzalez smashed a two-run blast over the wall in left field. With his third home run of the season, Gonzalez brought around catcher Yan Gomes, who hit a one-out double earlier in the frame.
Lindor continues to add onto his single-season franchise record for home runs by a shortstop, as he has belted 27 home runs in 138 games this season. Lindor has hit .339 with six home runs and 12 runs batted in during the winning streak.
“You look at the score at the end, and it got a little spread out,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We think going into it, 15 minutes prior, we’re facing (Carlos) Rodon. Then, he had issues, so guys have got to kind of regroup. We got a couple different guys in there.
“Frankie hits that lead-off triple, and it’s like, ‘Okay, here we go.’ When you’ve got Kluber pitching, anybody pitching, but when you’ve got Kluber on the mound and you score early, it sure makes you feel good.”
The Indians added three more runs in the top of the seventh inning when Gonzalez brought in center fielder Bradley Zimmer with a sacrifice fly to left field. Zimmer doubled and advanced to third base on a throwing error earlier in the inning.
Then, three batters later, left fielder Greg Allen smacked a two-run home run to left field that also drove in Lindor, who was on base after a single to center field.
In the top of the ninth inning, Gonzalez belted his second home run of the game.
“Good for him,” Francona said of Gonzalez. “The idea is we don’t want guys sitting too much because it’s just hard to feel like you’re involved.
“They work hard, and we talk to them all the time. They’re so good defensively, and when they get a chance to hit, it’s nice to see them chip in. Mejia with a hit and Greg Allen hitting the ball out of the ballpark, that’s exciting for everybody, not just them, but even the staff because it’s fun when those guys get to play.”