Cleveland- The Indians relied on a strong start from Zach Pleasac in game one, as the offense got off to a slow start on Wednesday. Texas starter Ariel Jurado held Cleveland without a hit through the first four innings in game one, before a Mike Freeman single broke up the no-no. Unfortunately Freeman’s single didn’t exactly wake up the Tribe offense, as Cleveland finished game one with only three hits.
Believe it or not the Rangers actually doubled the number of hits the Indians had. Luckily two of Cleveland’s hits came in the seventh inning. First Carlos Santana singled to right-field to get things started, after Yasiel Puig struck out, Jose Ramirez stepped up to the plate. In a game where it felt as if one swing of the bat could prove to be the difference, Ramirez made sure the difference was his swing.
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Pleasac gave the Indians six scoreless innings, while striking out seven before turning the ball over to the Tribe bullpen. The Indians planned on game two being a bullpen game so a good start from Pleasac was key to a successful day of baseball. Nick Goody relieved Pleasac, coming on for two strong innings allowing one hit and striking out three. Goody is currently in the second best scoreless streak of his career, as the righty has not allowed a run in 12 consecutive innings. In 2017, Goody recorded 15 straight innings without surrendering a run. Goody also earned the win Wednesday afternoon as he improved to (3-0) on the season.
Brad Hand made light-work of the Rangers line-up in the ninth inning as he struck out the side, recording his 28th save of the season.
The Cleveland Indians bullpen continued their strong day in the second game as a combination of arms were heroes in game two. Cleveland’s bullpen pitched a combined 12 innings between the two games Wednesday, allowing only one run. Tyler Clippard started the game going two innings, striking out three Rangers hitters.
Hunter Wood and AJ Cole each pitched at least two innings en route to helping Cleveland. Indians pitchers struck out eight, allowing only four hits and one run. A solo home run by Willie Calhoun in the eighth was Texas’s only run Wednesday afternoon.
The Indians offense once again struggled to get things going early on, Ramirez’s home run was the difference until the seventh and eighth innings when the bats woke up for the Tribe. A big reason the Tribe offense came alive was a pair of doubles by Jason Kipnis. In his last seven games Kipnis has batted .407 (11-27) with four doubles, five runs scored and 10 RBIs.
Jose Ramirez truly did have himself an afternoon. His solo shot in the second, extended his streak to six games of hitting an extra base hit.It was also the second time in his career that he has homered in both games of a double-header, last doing so in 2016 against the White Sox. Ramirez is the first Indians player in history to accomplish the feat twice. Sine June 21st, Ramirez is batting .327, with 11 home-runs, 16 doubles and 32 RBIs. May be time to officially say that the Indians slugger is back.
Just in time for the big weekend series against the AL Central leading Twins. When things began on Tuesday, Cleveland was four games back of Minnesota. Just 24 hours later, that lead is down to only two. A pair of wins, and a pair of losses by the Twins set up the four game series in Minnesota.