Bats go 'aggressive mode' to power big win

September 16th, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS -- With two outs in the first inning on Wednesday, Cleveland’s José Ramírez lined a ball off the right-field fence at Target Field and tried to stretch a single into a double.

Minnesota outfielder Max Kepler played the carom off the wall and delivered a throw to nab Ramírez at second. Ramírez was out, but the tone was set for Cleveland. The Indians were ready to be aggressive offensively.

and each homered and drove in three runs as Cleveland’s offense broke out in a 12-3 win against the Twins on Wednesday at Target Field.

“Little things like that, it’s like, ‘You know what? We’re in aggressive mode,’” Indians interim manager DeMarlo Hale said. “Although he got thrown out, I still thought it was aggressive mode and I thought we were kind of grinding some at-bats. Some guys had some deep counts and had some good swings. Just kind of came together.”

Ramírez, Myles Straw and Franmil Reyes each added three hits for Cleveland, which won the road series following a disappointing homestand. Reyes added his 29th home run.

Cal Quantrill (6-3) didn’t need much support, giving up three unearned runs on just two hits in 6 2/3 innings. He allowed a double to Miguel Sanó in the second inning and then retired 13 in a row.

“The guys have been grinding, and they’ve taken some heat in the last weeks, and I thought today was awesome,” Quantrill said. “There was a lot of quality at-bats today. They stayed on ‘em, with their foot on their necks. Three runs, four runs, five runs, whatever it was in an inning. As a starting pitcher there’s just nothing better, right?”

The offensive output was a welcome sight for the Indians. They had scored 10 total runs in seven games during the homestand, including getting no-hit by Milwaukee on Saturday.

“No matter who you are, you’re going to end up going through stretches like that where it kind of seems like nothing is clicking for anybody,” Mercado said. “That’s kind of when you know a team’s going to get hot. All it takes is just a hit here and there for guys to kind of get going. That’s kind of what happened tonight. It will be exciting to head to New York and keep it going.”

Cleveland started to show signs of improvement during Tuesday’s doubleheader as it came up with clutch hitting in a Game 1 win and added a three-run inning in the nightcap.

The turnaround continued Wednesday against Minnesota rookie starter Griffin Jax (3-4).

Bradley opened the scoring with an RBI double to plate Ramírez in the fourth.

Mercado provided a big jolt in the fifth. With two runners on and no outs, he showed bunt before pulling it back. On the next pitch, he hit his fifth home run of the season.

“I didn’t get the job done trying to get those bunts down at first,” Mercado said. “So, I was just thankful I was able to get it done another way.”

Bradley’s 13th home run capped a five-run seventh.

Quantrill watched the offensive explosion, but the long seventh might have hurt his chances to continue long into the game. He had allowed only one baserunner -- Sanó’s single -- until the seventh.

But he walked Byron Buxton to open the frame. After two outs, he walked Max Kepler and Sanó followed with a three-run homer. Quantrill’s night was over after walking Nick Gordon.

“I will never complain about them scoring five,” Quantrill said. “I will learn how to deal with long layoffs better before I ever complain about that.”