NEW YORK -- Statements aren't made in August. If they were, Thursday night would have been an impressive one for the Indians.
Cleveland bashed its way to a 19-5 thrashing of the Yankees in the Bronx, opening the four-game series with a season-high seven home runs. Five Indians players went deep, seven had at least one RBI, while all nine members of the Tribe's starting lineup produced a multi-hit effort, only the second time in franchise history that's happened.
The other time? That would be 113 years ago. Talk about a statement.
"I don't think I believe in those types of things," manager Terry Francona said. "You make a statement tonight, they might make one tomorrow. I just believe in trying to show up and see if we can win."
Seven runs in the first inning certainly helped the Indians' cause, four of them coming on one big swing by José Ramírez, who launched the first grand slam of his career.
"This is the type of game that you remember," Ramirez said through an interpreter. "You know who they are and you know what they're going to do down the road. ... They're a competitive team, and it gives you a good feeling when you get that type of result like today."
It was the first of two homers on the night for Ramirez, who had his 11th career multi-homer game and tied a personal best with six RBIs.
"When he gets hot, he's something incredible to watch," said Greg Allen, who scored four runs and hit a three-run homer off Mike Ford, who started the game as the Yankees' DH before coming in to pitch the final two innings of the blowout. "We've all been fortunate to be around it this past few years, just watching him go on these tears, it's impressive. Having a guy like that in the middle of your lineup, we can really lean on him, especially down the stretch."
As Ramirez goes, so goes the Indians' offense. Cleveland is 38-5 this season when he drives in at least one run, so it should be no surprise that the Tribe is 29-11 since June 30, as Ramirez is hitting .308 with 14 home runs, 43 RBIs and an OPS north of 1.000 during that stretch.
"It's been fun; it's been needed," Jason Kipnis said. "When he was in his slump, we always supported him and pushed him to keep going, because we know that player is in there. We've seen it before with his close-to-MVP seasons. The fact that he's figured it out has probably been the biggest boost to date for us."
Ramirez's early-season slump was more like a half-season. He was hitting .216 with five homers, 30 RBIs and a .638 OPS before June 30, as the team struggled to keep itself above .500 for most of that time.
Did any of Ramirez's teammates worry that the hot streak would never come?
"He sucked the first two months; tons of doubt," Kipnis said, flashing a slight grin. "You keep pushing him, keep hoping that he figures it out because we know that when he gets on a tear, it's one of the crazier things in the league to watch. He just becomes one of the better all-around hitters and players in the game."
Ramirez homered in each of his first two at-bats Thursday, but that was par for the course on this night. Carlos Santana also hit a pair of home runs, while Kipnis, Roberto Perez and Allen also homered. The Indians had hit five home runs in a game once before Thursday, but after matching that output through the first four innings, they set a new season-high in the eighth when Allen and Santana went deep against Ford, who had served as the Yankees' equivalent of a white flag.
"I hope we didn't waste all of them in the first game," Kipnis said. "I wish we had held on to some of them. It's nice; we have guys who haven't played here before, so it makes it a little easier on them to relax because sometimes this can be a little bit of an imposing venue."
There was seemingly nothing imposing about Yankee Stadium for the Indians on Thursday night, as they scored in six of the nine innings, never letting up while Adam Plutko held New York's lineup to three runs over six innings.
"Especially against this lineup, we were thrilled we got the runs early, but you're looking at their lineup thinking, 'Let's keep going,'" Francona said. "You don't have very many nights like tonight, but you'll certainly take them."