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Ramirez, Tribe come alive vs. Verlander

MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Justin Verlander's continued struggles against the Indians remain one of baseball's unsolved mysteries. On Saturday, the Tigers' ace labored once again against Cleveland, which was powered by Jose Ramirez's two-homer, six-RBI day in a 13-6 rout over the Tigers at Progressive Field.

"I can promise you that nobody's rushing up to the ballpark the day he's pitching," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Verlander. "But, we've done a really good job of, one, making him work. And, when he's made a mistake, not missing it, because his stuff is really good."

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CLEVELAND -- Justin Verlander's continued struggles against the Indians remain one of baseball's unsolved mysteries. On Saturday, the Tigers' ace labored once again against Cleveland, which was powered by Jose Ramirez's two-homer, six-RBI day in a 13-6 rout over the Tigers at Progressive Field.

"I can promise you that nobody's rushing up to the ballpark the day he's pitching," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Verlander. "But, we've done a really good job of, one, making him work. And, when he's made a mistake, not missing it, because his stuff is really good."

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Carlos Santana and Lonnie Chisenhall also cleared the fence against Verlander, who gave up a career-high nine earned runs and saw his season ERA soar to 5.71 from 1.35 in a span of four innings. The righty allowed 11 hits, including eight in the first three frames, and ended with four strikeouts and one walk in his first loss of the year.

Video: DET@CLE: Chisenhall drills a two-run homer to right

Over the 2014-16 seasons, Verlander went 2-7 with a 4.74 ERA against Cleveland, while going 34-22 with a 3.49 ERA against all other opponents.

Indians continue to get Verlander's goat

"These guys hit me pretty well," Verlander said. "It's kind of been the have or have-nots. They've either hit me really well or I've done really well against them, going back to last year. I wish I could put my finger on exactly what it is, but I just can't. I've got to pitch better."

Video: DET@CLE: V. Martinez hits RBI single to right field

The nine-run outburst against Verlander was enough support for Indians ace Corey Kluber, who ran into trouble of his own. The righty was charged with six runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings, in which he struck out eight and walked two. Justin Upton highlighted the scoring against Kluber with a two-run homer in the fourth, which had a 106-mph exit velocity, per Statcast™.

Video: DET@CLE: Upton's two-run home run to left field

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ramirez ignites offense: With two outs in the first inning, Ramirez pulled a four-seamer from Verlander out to right field for a three-run homer to get Cleveland's lineup rolling. Ramirez's second shot of the season had an exit velocity of 103 mph, per Statcast™. The blast set the tone for the offense and helped Ramirez continue a recent hot streak. Across Friday and Saturday's games, Ramirez had six consecutive hits, raising his season average to .341 from .229. Ramirez added a three-run shot off reliever Anibal Sanchez in the eighth. That shot also had an exit velo of 103 mph, and traveled 410 projected feet to left.

"Anything can happen," Ramirez said through team translator Anna Bolton. "There are some days that you're going to have the ability to hit pitches better than other days. Thankfully, they're throwing me pitches that I can dominate well, and I've had good luck in the past couple of days." More >

Video: DET@CLE: Ramirez records four hits, plates six in win

Greene inherits killer runs: Shane Greene was 21-for-21 in stranding inherited baserunners last season, and 22-for-22 for his career. He inherited a pair of crucial tallies once Verlander left following back-to-back singles in the fifth. Greene walked his first batter but nearly stranded the bases loaded until Santana lined a two-out, two-run single to right to make it a 9-4 game.

"The way [the Tigers] were competing and swinging," Francona said, "you kind of knew that you better not stop. I think Carlos' hit really helped, because they were still coming."

Video: DET@CLE: Santana's RBI single and out adds to lead

QUOTABLE
"I think the next day's starter is the momentum or the stopper. We were kind of due to start to swing it a little bit. I'm not sure I would have picked Verlander, but we did a good job and stayed after them. You kind of get that line moving, and you get first-and-thirds. The ball was really flying, and we took advantage of it." -- Francona

"I feel like I threw some pretty good pitches today that they hit, and hit hard. I guess maybe it was one of those days where they were all locked in and had a good game plan. Maybe I was just not myself. I don't know." -- Verlander

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Indians scored 13 runs in a span of five innings between the eighth inning on Friday and the third inning on Saturday. In the previous 61 innings combined, Cleveland's lineup had produced only 14 runs.

Santana's home run pushed him out of a tie with former Indians great Jim Thome for the most home runs for any individual hitter against Verlander. Santana now has eight. No other active player has more than four.

Video: DET@CLE: Santana crushes a two-run homer to pad lead

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With one out in the eighth, Abraham Almonte sent a one-hopper back to Sanchez, who reached behind with a glove, knocking the ball into the air. The pitcher lost track of the baseball for a moment, but recovered in time to make a throw to first. Almonte was initially ruled out, but the Indians challenged the call. After a replay review lasting two minutes and 12 seconds, the out call was overturned. Almonte was rewarded with an RBI single, giving Cleveland a 13-6 lead.

Video: DET@CLE: Chisenhall scores after call overturned

WHAT'S NEXT
Tigers: Matthew Boyd (1-1, 5.40 ERA) will make his first start against the Indians Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET as the two teams close out their three-game weekend series. The lefty tossed six scoreless innings of one-hit ball in his last outing against the Twins on Tuesday at Comerica Park

Indians: Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (1-0, 2.13 ERA) is scheduled to take the ball for the Tribe against the Tigers on Sunday at Progressive Field. It will mark Carrasco's first outing against Detroit since Sept. 17 last year, when an Ian Kinsler line drive fractured the pitcher's right hand, ending his season.

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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 listen to his podcast.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.