Indians break out bats in win

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians scored a total of 13 runs in six games on their recent West Coast road trip, but they reversed that trend in a big way in their first of seven straight home contests at Progressive Field on Friday night.

The off day Thursday helped the Indians (12-17) find their bats, as they pounded out 12 runs in the first six innings, and broke a six-game losing streak with a 12-5 win over the Chicago White Sox (14-16) in front of 15,518 fans.

"We had a good approach, and we used the whole field," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We kind of stayed after them, which was good. If you get pitchers out of the stretch early, before they can settle in, we were moving the order around. Guys were staying loose and were all involved. It was a good night offensively for us, and we needed it.

"We answered tonight. When they scored, we answered. We kept at them offensively. We had a real good approach early, and kind of got right back into the game. Then, we kept swinging and we did some really good things offensively."

The Indians got the offense going early and gave starting pitcher Danny Salazar a five-run lead after their first at-bat.

After center fielder Michael Bourn popped out down the first-base line to start the inning, seven straight Indians were able to reach base, and five came around to score. Third baseman Mike Aviles started the rally with a single and stolen base, and then, first baseman Nick Swisher drew a walk.

Designated hitter Carlos Santana, who had been mired in a slump before finding his swing in the last three games of the West Coast trip, hit an RBI double to right-center field. Right fielder Ryan Raburn followed up with a two-run single.

With Raburn on third base after Michael Brantley's single and a walk from shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, catcher Yan Gomes smoked a two-run double down the right-field line to drive in the final runs of the inning.

Although the White Sox responded with three runs of their own in the top of the second inning, the Indians had an answer when Santana belted a 371-foot home run to the left-field porch.

"He's such a good hitter, and the good part is, when he is, it's not just singles," Francona said of Santana. "He'll hit the ball out of the ballpark. He'll hit the ball out of the gap. He'll still take his walks, but he can be a big run-producer for us."

In the third inning, the Indians scored when Gomes, who was on base because of his second straight double, came in on Bourn's single to center field. Cleveland scored once more in the fifth when Brantley swatted a home run to right-center field.

"I've always loved his approach," Francona said. "I just think he's maturing. I think his lower half might be a little stronger, his base coming into the year, which just allows him to hit the way he's always hit. Some of those balls are going a little farther and he knows the league, knows himself, knows the situations. His approach has always been really good."

The Indians added four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

With one out, Aviles hit a single, and went from first to home on Swisher's RBI double down the right-field line. Then, after Santana drew a walk, pinch hitter David Murphy reached base on a fielder's choice that Chicago second baseman Gordon Beckham fielded cleanly but could not flip to second base for the force out.

And then, it was "Dr. Smooth" who again came through in the clutch, as Brantley drove in two runs with a sharp single up the middle.

"I put good swings on the baseball," Brantley said. "If they go out, they go out. If it's a line drive, if it's a ground ball, I just try to get the barrel to the ball as much as possible. I'm getting smarter, I guess. I'm facing these guys more than one time. I have a track record against them, and I'm just putting good, quality swings on the baseball right now.

"It's easy to play in the lead. That's our goal. Our goal is to get the pitcher a lead and let them take it from there. We did a great job tonight just putting quality at-bats together and never giving up. They scored, we responded, so it was a good win for us tonight."


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