Through the first two-plus weeks of the regular season, the Cleveland Indians had their share of offensive struggles, but that was the exact opposite of the results they got in the second game of a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins.
The Indians (7-7) scored early and scored often on the way to an 11-4 victory over the Twins (7-7) at Target Field in Minneapolis Tuesday night.
Offensively, the Indians got things rolling when the top of the order came through in the first inning.
Shortstop Francisco Lindor smacked a one-out single to right field and moved into scoring position when left fielder Michael Brantley hit a double to deep right field. Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion followed with an RBI groundout that drove in Lindor, but the Indians were not done.
After fouling off five of the last seven pitches he saw from Twins starter Phil Hughes, second baseman Jose Ramirez lifted a fly ball to the warning track in right field. Although it appeared to be the final out of the inning, Twins outfielder Max Kepler dropped the ball, and that allowed Brantley to score from second base.
Then, center fielder Lonnie Chisenhall golfed an ankle-high 1-2 pitch from Hughes through the hole on the right side of the infield and brought around Ramirez for the Indians’ third run of the inning.
Although the Twins responded with a pair of runs off of Indians starter Josh Tomlin in the bottom of the first inning, Cleveland’s offense put more runs on the scoreboard in the top of the third.
Brantley hit a 1-2 pitch from Hughes into right-center field for a single, and after Encarnacion made the second out of the inning, Ramirez belted a two-run home run over the wall in right-center field. His fourth homer of the season gave the Indians a 5-2 lead over the Twins.
In their next at-bat, the Indians got another three hits and one run when first baseman Carlos Santana singled home right fielder Abraham Almonte, who doubled to right field with one out in the top of the fourth inning.
Encarnacion started the top of the fifth inning by being hit on an 0-2 pitch from former Indians reliever Craig Breslow and moved into scoring position when Ramirez singled to center field. After Chisenhall moved up both Encarnacion and Ramirez one base with a sacrifice bunt, third baseman Yandy Diaz lifted an 0-1 pitch from reliever Justin Haley into right field for an RBI sacrifice fly.
The Indians added another two runs in the top of the sixth inning when Lindor brought around Almonte and Santana with an RBI triple to right-center field. Almonte led off the frame with a walk, and after a lineout from catcher Roberto Perez, Santana singled to left field.
Encarnacion capped off a strong offensive performance for the Indians with a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning. After Brantley was hit on the right leg, Encarnacion belted the first pitch he saw from Twins reliever Michael Tonkin into the seats in left field.
The Indians ran Hughes from the game after he allowed eight hits and six runs, four of which were earned, over just 3.1 innings of work.
Conversely, Tomlin reversed the struggles of his first two starts of the season by working around seven hits and allowing three earned runs with no walks against two strikeouts over six innings.
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