CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez did not look like a rookie playing in his first Major League Baseball All-Star Game when he started at the hot corner for the American League at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida Tuesday night.
One of four Indians to play in the 2017 MLB All-Star Game, Ramirez got singles to right field in each of his two at-bats, and later, stole second base in the top of the third of the American League’s 2-1 victory in 10 innings.
Ramirez had one of the best batting averages in the American League over the first half of the 2017 regular season, and that hot hitting continued in his first at-bat in the All-Star Game.
On the first pitch from Washington Nationals starter Max Scherzer, Ramirez smashed a single to right field, just under the glove of Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. However, Scherzer struck out New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Houston Astros left fielder George Springer to end the top of the first inning.
Just as he did in his first at-bat, Ramirez drove a single to right field in the top of the third inning.
After Boston Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts and Astros second baseman Jose Altuve grounded out and struck out, respectively, Ramirez hit a 1-0 pitch from St. Louis Cardinals hurler Carlos Martinez out of the reach of the infielders and into right for his second consecutive hit.
Then, on a 1-2 pitch with Judge at the plate, Ramirez sprinted toward and slid into second base well ahead of the throw from San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. However, Judge grounded out to shortstop for the final out of the inning.
Ramirez earned the All-Star start by closing a 200,000-vote gap over the final five days of the fan voting.
Over his first 86 games this season, Ramirez collected 109 hits in 328 at-bats (.332 batting average), including 49 for extra bases (27 doubles, five triples, 17 home runs). Ramirez has driven in 48 runs, scored 62 and drawn 30 walks against 42 strikeouts.
By getting 21 hits in 37 at-bats over a seven-day period in late June, Ramirez raised his batting average by 36 points. During the week-long stretch, Ramirez smacked 10 doubles, one triple and three home runs with seven RBI and 12 runs scored, all while leading the Indians to a six-game winning streak.
Ramirez had at least one double in seven straight games, including multiple two-base hits in three of those contests.
Over his last 25 games, Ramirez hit .441 with nine home runs, 14 doubles, three triples, 29 runs scored and 21 RBI. Additionally, during that stretch, Ramirez had 16 multi-hit games and eight three-hit performances.
Shortly after being named an American League All-Star starter, Ramirez became the first player in Indians history to hit home runs from both sides of the plate in the same game multiple times in a single season.
Currently, Ramirez and the Indians lead the American League Central Division by 2.5 games over the Minnesota Twins and hold a three-game edge over the surging Kansas City Royals.
The Indians begin the second half of the regular season with a West Coast trip at the Oakland Athletics starting Friday night.
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