The Indians celebrated Independence Day with a big 7th inning in which they scored six times en route to an 8-4 win over the Kansas City Royals to wrap up a three-game sweep.
The victory puts the Indians at 48-38 on the season, and they also are three games over .500 playing on the road at 23-20.
Up next after an odd Friday off is two games with the Cincinnati Reds before they get a rest for the All-Star break.
The win also closes the gap between the Tribe an Twins in the AL Central, as with Minnesota’s 7-2 loss to the Oakland A’s, the Indians trail the Twins by six games for the top spot in the division.
Adam Cimber went 2.1 innings in relief of Zach Plesac to get the win, moving his mark to 4-2 on the season.
Here’s a couple takeaways from the win:
1. JRam Finds His Groove
All season long Indians fans have been waiting for Jose Ramirez to finally get hot, and Thursday he went off for his first two homer game since July 30th of last season.
The first homer just got over the wall to give the Tribe a 1-0 lead in the second, and then hit his 7th homer of the season in the 7th to add on to the Indians lead.
On the day Ramirez went 2-for-5 to push his average to .217. Yes it’s been a rough season for the most part watching Ramirez, but watching his two bombs Thursday was a welcome sight.
2. Another Strong Outing for the Pen
It was a tough day for Indians starter Zach Plesac, who went just 2.2 innings, allowing three runs on three hits before he was pulled.
Knowing the team had Friday off made it a lot easier for Terry Francona to have the quick hook on Plesac, and also having the depth of a nine-man bullpen helped as well.
A.J. Cole, Tyler Clippard, Adam Cimber and Nick Wittgren allowed one run over the last 6.1 innings in the win.
Once again the pen proved their worth on a day when their starter didn’t have his best stuff, and the game easily could have gotten away when the Royals went up 3-1 and had the bases loaded in the third.
Instead give major props to Francona for going to the pen before more damage was done, and also for the pen to get out of the inning and throwing well the rest of the way.
3. On a Roll
The Indians continue to put their struggles early in the season well behind them, as they now have won four in a row, 18 of 26 and 20 of their last 29.
They are 4-2 on this eight-game trip, and with two games left before the break could find themselves with 50 wins and with the Twins playing three against the Rangers, there’s a chance the Tribe could find themselves as low as 4.5 back at the break.
The improved hitting has been the biggest reason this team has gone from an afterthought by many to a real contender again in the American League.
They’ve already gotten Mike Clevinger back, and Corey Kluber might not be that far behind, giving this team another piece as they continue to try to make up ground on the Twins in the division.