The long ball was very, very good to the Cleveland Indians in their series finale against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on the south side of Chicago Tuesday afternoon.
After getting just two hits in their first game of the brief two-day series against the White Sox, the Indians located pitches well from Chicago starter Manny Banuelos and reliever Josh Osich, so much so that they combined for five home runs on the way to a 9-0 victory.
The Indians improved to 22-19 on the season and moved to within 3.5 games of the front-running Minnesota Twins in the Central Division standings.
Catcher Roberto Perez got things going when he belted a solo home run over the wall in center field in Cleveland’s third trip to the plate.
With one out in the top of the third inning, Perez got a 1-1 four-seam fastball at the belt and smashed the 427-foot blast to give the Indians a 1-0 lead over their American League Central Division rivals from Chicago.
It was Perez’s fifth home run of the season, and the Indians were not done building onto their lead.
In the fourth inning, it was cleanup hitter Jordan Luplow who did the damage.
With designated hitter Carlos Santana on first base after drawing a one-out walk, Luplow sat on a 1-0 sinking fastball and drove it to the opposite field. The ball ricocheted off the top of the wall and into the seats in right field for his third home run of the season.
Luplow’s home run was his third in the last five games, and ironically enough, all three of them have come against Banuelos.
The Indians took a 3-0 lead over the White Sox into the bottom of the fourth inning, and then, added onto the advantage with the long ball once again in the fifth.
After working the count to 2-2, first baseman Jake Bauers sat on a slider that stayed up in the zone, swung through it and sent the pitch over the wall in right field. Bauers’ 411-foot home run was his fourth of the season and gave the Indians a 4-0 lead over the White Sox.
Later in the fifth inning, second baseman Jason Kipnis doubled to the wall in right-center field, which drove in Perez, and then, came around to score when Santana singled to left field.
And Luplow was far from done, as he homered to lead off the top of the sixth inning.
With a 2-1 count, Luplow sat on a cut fastball belt high and over the plate from White Sox left-handed reliever Josh Osich and drove it into the seats in left-center field.
Luplow had two of the Indians’ five home runs against the White Sox, and all five of his round-trippers this season have come against Chicago.
Following Luplow’s second home run of the day, third baseman Jose Ramirez smashed a 2-2 cut fastball over the wall in left field for his fourth round-tripper of the season.
While the offense was producing, Indians starter Carlos Carrasco struck out six White Sox batters with no walks or runs allowed with six hits scattered over the seven innings of work on the way to a win.