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Out at the plate caps night of struggles

Cleveland unable to get baserunners home in second loss to Padres
MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- By the time Jose Ramirez reached the dirt circle that surrounds home plate, Padres catcher Luis Torrens already had the ball in hand. Ramirez slid, but it was no use. As the Indians third baseman rose to his feet, his helmet tumbling away behind him, Torrens applied the tag.

That was the kind of night it was for Cleveland on Wednesday, when the team stranded an army of baserunners in a discouraging 6-2 loss to San Diego. The lack of hits in the clutch played a role in Ramirez's decision to sprint from second to home on a Yan Gomes single in the eighth inning, testing the arm of Padres right fielder Hunter Renfroe.

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CLEVELAND -- By the time Jose Ramirez reached the dirt circle that surrounds home plate, Padres catcher Luis Torrens already had the ball in hand. Ramirez slid, but it was no use. As the Indians third baseman rose to his feet, his helmet tumbling away behind him, Torrens applied the tag.

That was the kind of night it was for Cleveland on Wednesday, when the team stranded an army of baserunners in a discouraging 6-2 loss to San Diego. The lack of hits in the clutch played a role in Ramirez's decision to sprint from second to home on a Yan Gomes single in the eighth inning, testing the arm of Padres right fielder Hunter Renfroe.

View Full Game Coverage

"Hunter made a real nice throw," said Indians bench coach Brad Mills, who managed in place of Terry Francona. "When you're not scoring runs ... you try to press the envelope a little bit more. And the envelope kind of bit us a little bit there."

Video: SD@CLE: Statcast™ measures Renfroe's 98.1-mph throw

That has been an unfortunate trend of late for the Indians.

During Tuesday's 1-0 loss to San Diego, the Tribe finished 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. In this defeat, Cleveland managed four hits with RISP, but in 15 at-bats on the night. The Indians churned out five doubles -- giving them one more extra-base hit than the Padres -- and produced 14 hits to San Diego's 13 overall in the loss.

The performance was historic in an unfortunate sense for the Indians. This marked the first time since Aug. 17, 1949, that a Cleveland team had at least 14 hits and scored no more than two runs. And it was the first time since at least 1913 that the Indians had 14 hits, including at least four extra-base hits, and could not find home plate more than twice.

That all adds up to a gut-punch of a loss for the American League Central leaders.

"It's tough. I guarantee we're trying. That might by why we're not scoring," Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said. "We might be trying a little too hard. Our pitching staff is doing their job and all us hitters are not doing it. ... We're going to try to turn it around. We're still in first place, but we're not satisfied with how we're doing right now."

Heading into the night, the Indians had a .776 OPS (12th in the Majors) and a 103 weighted Runs Created Plus with runners on base, indicating that the offense is 3 percent above league average in such situations. With runners in scoring position, however, Cleveland ranked 25th in OPS (.721) and had an 86 wRC+ (or was performing 14 percent below average).

Video: SD@CLE: Mills on second straight loss to the Padres

Given the track record of the hitters within the Tribe's lineup, that has been a perplexing element to the team's inconsistent season to date.

"With runners in scoring position, again, it kind of rose up to get us," Mills said. "I think we had some pretty good at-bats throughout the game, and it showed with 14 hits and the extra-base hits as well. When you don't get them with runners in scoring position, sometimes it adds up. Fourteen hits and two runs. You kind of want to try to put things together a little bit."

Lindor expects things to turn around soon.

"We've got to continue to compete," he said, "continue to work as hard as we can and back each other up no matter what. We'll be fine -- trust me on that. We'll be fine. We're going to score some runs and we're going to be successful. It's just a matter of, when are we going to start doing it?"

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

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