Power back? Jose slams 2 homers for Tribe

Big games from Ramirez, Lindor cap sweep of Royals

July 5th, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- Jose Ramirez provided a flashback to his 2018 power game in Thursday’s series finale at Kauffman Stadium, and that bodes well for what the Indians might be able to accomplish in the second half of ‘19.

Ramirez, who started the day with just five homers in 82 games this season, blasted two on Thursday. The rest of Cleveland’s lineup put forth a textbook offensive display in the seventh inning, as the Indians completed a three-game sweep with an 8-4 victory over the Royals.

Trailing 3-2 going to the seventh, the Indians went to work against reliever Jorge Lopez. and singled before Tyler Naquin roped a run-scoring double. With the infield drawn in, grounded a two-run single up the middle to give Cleveland a 5-3 lead.

Then came a series of well-executed offensive maneuvers -- none of which was a hit.

Lindor stole second before put down a sacrifice bunt and wound up at second on a throwing error as Lindor scored. , who improved his on-base streak to 27 games earlier, moved Mercado to third with a groundout to the right side and delivered a sacrifice fly that made it 7-3.

Ramirez then capped the six-run frame with a long ball to complement the small ball. Ramirez, who had 39 homers last season, deposited his second homer of the day into the right-field stands, serving notice that he could be ready to roll with the power stroke after the All-Star break.

“It feels really good to do that and, most importantly, help my team win,” Ramirez said through a translator.

Ramirez recorded the 10th multihomer game of his career and his first since July 30, 2018, at Minnesota. The two homers on Thursday matched his total from the previous 47 games combined.

“I’m happy for him,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It’s nice to see him smile.”

If Ramirez could use Thursday’s effort as a springboard to some heavy hitting in the second half, it could be a key for Cleveland in its quest to chase down Minnesota in the American League Central race.

“I feel stronger than normal,” Ramirez said. “Let’s see how it unfolds, but I’m confident it can happen.”

The Royals were up, 3-1, in the third after knocking out Indians starter Zach Plesac. Kansas City had the bases loaded with two outs when reliever came on to strike out Cheslor Cuthbert. That enabled the Indians to hang close and the offense finally put them over the top in the seventh.

Francona felt that Cole strikeout in the third was a big swing in the game.

“If he doesn’t get that, it’s an uphill battle,” Francona said.

The Indians will take a four-game winning streak into Cincinnati, where they’ll try to draw closer to the Twins heading into the All-Star break.

“Whether you’re in front or chasing, everybody’s fighting for wins night in and night out,” Plawecki said. “There’s a lot of baseball to be played, but we’re in a good little groove right now.”