MINNEAPOLIS -- Inside Target Field's visitors' clubhouse on Saturday morning, Indians manager Terry Francona cast his votes for the American League All-Star team. Francona, who will be managing the AL in light of Cleveland reaching the World Series last fall, has joked that he does not want to go to
MINNEAPOLIS -- Inside Target Field's visitors' clubhouse on Saturday morning, Indians manager Terry Francona cast his votes for the American League All-Star team. Francona, who will be managing the AL in light of Cleveland reaching the World Series last fall, has joked that he does not want to go to Miami alone.
The Indians then went out and swept the Twins in a day-night doubleheader, running away with a 9-3 win in the afternoon tilt and moving into sole possession of first in the AL Central with a 6-2 win in the nightcap. After the wins, Francona was asked if he voted for third baseman Jose Ramirez, who went 5-for-10 with two homers and two doubles on the day.
"I voted for all our guys," Francona said with a laugh.
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Cleveland has seen Ramirez got red-hot in the batter's box plenty of times over the past few seasons, but his latest run has been especially eye-popping. In the last three wins over Minnesota, he has gone 8-for-14 at the plate with six extra-base hits. Dating back to a seventh-inning homer against the Dodgers on Wednesday, Ramirez has gone 13-for-23 with nine extra-base hits.
In the opener of the twin bill on Saturday, Ramirez homered from both sides of the plate, taking lefty Adam Wilk to the opposite-field in the first and then pulling a pitch from righty Alex Wimmers out to right in the sixth. Between the blasts, which gave him 11 on the year, Ramirez had a two-run double. For the second game, Ramirez slid over to second base to give Jason Kipnis some rest.
"One of us was going to get the second game off," Kipnis said. "I'm like, 'You're staying in there. You hit two home runs -- one oppo.' The way he was doing it in the first game, when you have a doubleheader, that's what you want. You want to ride that out as long as you can. That was great. We've seen him get hot with the best of them."
Ramirez doubled in his first at-bat in the second game and added a single before his night was over.
Early in the contest, members of Cleveland's relief corps were in the dugout ahead of their in-game trek to the bullpen. While Ramirez was batting, righty Dan Otero glanced up at the Target Field scoreboard and did a double take when he read the switch-hitter's statistics.
"It was like two weeks ago he was batting like .260 or something like that," Otero said. "And all of a sudden he's back over .300. I said, 'What the heck just happened?' But, that's what he can do. He can just get hot in a hurry. He's such a good hitter and a bad-ball hitter. He can just hit anything that comes his way."
As Otero alluded, Ramirez was batting .265 with a .790 OPS on May 27. Since that day, which was the last time the third baseman's season OPS dropped under .800, he has posted a .400/.418/.707 slash line in 79 plate appearances. With that 19-game showing, Ramirez is now batting .306 with an .896 OPS.
"He gives pitchers such a hard time," Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall said. "It's just fun to watch him work. He's methodical. He runs like his pants are on fire when he gets a hit, and it's fun to see what he does. He's a special player."
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.