CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians awoke from their offensive slumber in a big way against the San Diego Padres Thursday night.
After going just 4 for 25 with runners in scoring position in recent games, the Indians (45-39) pounded out 14 hits, including seven for extra bases (three doubles, one triple and three home runs) on the way to an 11-2 victory over the Padres (36-49), which helped them avoid a second three-game sweep at Progressive Field in the last two weeks.
With the win, the Indians increased their edge over the Kansas City Royals to a full game in the American League Central Division standings. Kansas City was idle after winning its fourth straight game, a 9-6 decision at Seattle, on Wednesday night.
The Indians got the offense rolling in the bottom of the first inning when shortstop Francisco Lindor smacked a one-out single into center field, and then, on a 1-1 pitch from Padres starter Dinelson Lamet, designated hitter Michael Brantley belted an RBI triple to the wall in right field.
Two batters later, third baseman Jose Ramirez crushed a 1-2 pitch into the seats in right-center field, which gave Cleveland a 3-0 lead.
The Indians added another two runs onto their advantage in the bottom of the third inning.
Brantley initiated the rally with a five-pitch walk, and he moved into scoring position when first baseman Edwin Encarnacion hit a single to left field. Then, Ramirez loaded the bases when he reached on an error charged to the pitcher.
Right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to right field, and after left fielder Abraham Almonte walked on five pitches, center fielder Bradley Zimmer lifted a sacrifice fly of his own to left, which scored Encarnacion before Ramirez got thrown out at third base for the final out of the inning.
After San Diego plated a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning, the Indians had a response in the form of a first-pitch lead-off homer from Encarnacion in the bottom of the frame. Encarnacion crushed a belt-high pitch over the wall and very nearly into the visiting bullpen for his first round-tripper since June 20.
The Indians continued with the response runs in the bottom of the sixth inning off of Padres relievers Jose Torres and Kevin Quackenbush.
Catcher Yan Gomes led off with a solo home run to center field, and second baseman Jason Kipnis followed with a ground-rule double to center field. Later, Kipnis came around to score on a double to right field from Encarnacion, and Ramirez followed with an RBI single to center field before being thrown out attempting to get to second base on the play.
That marked the fourth time in the last week that Ramirez was thrown out on the base paths.
The Indians further padded their lead when Chisenhall brought around Brantley and Encarnacion with a two-run double to the wall in left field in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Chisenhall and Ramirez finished the game with three RBI each, while Encarnacion drove in two for the Indians.
In addition to the scoring, the Indians got a quality start from Josh Tomlin, who made it out of the sixth inning for the first time since a seven-inning outing in a loss at Kansas City on June 2.
Over seven innings of work, Tomlin scattered four hits and two earned runs, did not surrender a walk and struck out six Padres hitters. Tomlin located the strike zone with 74 of his 96 pitches and drew a standing ovation from the crowd on his way to the dugout in the top of the eighth inning.
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