DETROIT -- Jose Ramirez homered from both sides of the plate in a four-RBI performance as the Indians again roughed up Tigers ace Justin Verlander, this time for seven runs in 3 1/3 innings Sunday afternoon, leading Cleveland to an 11-8 victory in the rubber match of a three-game series
DETROIT -- Jose Ramirez homered from both sides of the plate in a four-RBI performance as the Indians again roughed up Tigers ace Justin Verlander, this time for seven runs in 3 1/3 innings Sunday afternoon, leading Cleveland to an 11-8 victory in the rubber match of a three-game series at Comerica Park.
"It's been fun to watch," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Ramirez's season. "It's both sides of the plate. He gets so dangerous when he's on one of these [runs]. It's not just getting singles. He's hitting the ball a long way."
Over his past 20 games, Ramirez has hit .446 with a 1.393 OPS in 90 plate appearances. In that span, the switch-hitter has nearly four times as many extra-base hits (22) as strikeouts (six). On Sunday, he became the first Indians player to homer from both sides of the plate twice in one season.
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Two-plus months after the Indians put up nine runs in four innings against Verlander in Cleveland, leading Verlander (5-5) to publicly wonder about tipping pitches and sign stealing, the Tribe left the veteran right-hander without a strikeout in a game for the first time in 10 years. Lonnie Chisenhall's two-run homer in the second began the barrage. Ramirez hit a solo homer in the third before greeting Chad Bell with a three-run homer in the fourth, his 15th of the season.
"First inning, fell behind a couple guys. After that, I just got my butt kicked," Verlander said.
Verlander did not record a strikeout in a game for the first time since April 28, 2007, ending a streak of 331 consecutive starts. The streak tied him with Curt Schilling for sixth-longest in Major League history.
Indians starter Mike Clevinger (4-3) was also wobbly early, walking five of Detroit's first 13 batters, before settling down to retire 11 of the final 12 Tigers he faced. He allowed just one run over six innings. James McCann singled in a run in the seventh before his three-run homer in the ninth, plus a Nicholas Castellanos two-run shot, closed the gap before Cody Allen retired Andrew Romine for his 16th save.
"I'm glad we were up nine instead of six," Francona said. "How many times do you give up six in the ninth inning and win? It's not going to put a damper on the day, because we came out with good energy and played a good game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Clevinger leaves them loaded: Before the Indians broke through against Verlander, Clevinger walked the bases loaded in the first, including Castellanos with two outs. After a mound visit from pitching coach Mickey Callaway, Clevinger put an 0-2 count on Victor Martinez, who flew out to left to end the threat. Clevinger retired Martinez again to strand two runners in the third.
"We had the bases loaded, couldn't break through," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Really, we didn't do much offensively until the end of the game."
"That was huge," Clevinger said. "I was just trying to lock back in and get back to attacking, and do away with that nit-picking stuff that we seem to be always talking about."
Verlander chased, Bell rung: The Indians fouled off enough Verlander offerings to put him at 77 pitches through three innings, leaving him on the verge of exit. Edwin Encarnacion fought out of an 0-2 count for a one-out single to knock Verlander from the game. Ramirez followed by lining a 2-0 pitch from Bell into the right-field seats for an 8-0 lead.
"You go into it trying to fight for everything and make him fight for everything, and we did a really good job of that. He's one of the most competitive pitchers you're ever going to see. And we made him work for everything." --Francona, on facing Verlander
"It stinks that it came to an end. I don't know, man, start a new one." --Verlander, on his streak of games with a strikeout
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In the first, Francisco Lindor sent a barreled line drive (103-mph exit velocity and 26-degree launch angle) to deep center, where Tigers center tfielder Michael Mahtook ran it down for an out. Entering Sunday, barreled balls had been converted into outs 32.8 percent (63 out of 192) of the time at Comerica Park this season, per Statcast™. In all other Major League ballparks combined, that rate was only 18.1 percent (716 out of 3,949).
For the first time in his career, Encarnacion had a triple and a stolen base in the same game.
Indians: Following Monday's off-day, ace Corey Kluber (7-2, 3.02 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Tribe for a 7:10 p.m. ET tilt against the Padres on Tuesday, the Fourth of July, at Progressive Field. In six June starts, the All-Star righty posted a 1.29 ERA, and became only the fifth player since at least 1913 to have at least 64 strikeouts and no more than seven walks in any single month.
Tigers: After an off-day Monday, first-time All-Star Michael Fulmer (7-6, 3.19) goes to work on the July 4 holiday as Detroit opens a three-game series against San Francisco on Tuesday at 1:10 p.m. ET at Comerica Park. Fulmer won Tigers Pitcher of the Month honors for June, capped by coming within an out of a four-hit shutout of the Royals on Thursday in Detroit.
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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.
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.