Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Ramirez hits 30th HR in 11-inning win vs. Texas

Third baseman homers, makes clutch defensive play and scores game-winning run
MLB.com @MLBastian

ARLINGTON -- Jose Ramirez was in the middle of everything on Friday night. He ignited a comeback with an impressive home run that put him atop the MLB leaderboard. The All-Star third baseman made a clutch defensive play to help halt a Rangers rally. And he scored the final run to push Cleveland to the win column.

On a night when a pile of problems could have sunk the Tribe, Ramirez and the Cleveland offense bailed out the pitchers and pulled off a 9-8 victory in 11 innings at Globe Life Park. Trevor Bauer lasted only four innings, new relief ace Brad Hand allowed a home run and Cody Allen blew a save.

View Full Game Coverage

ARLINGTON -- Jose Ramirez was in the middle of everything on Friday night. He ignited a comeback with an impressive home run that put him atop the MLB leaderboard. The All-Star third baseman made a clutch defensive play to help halt a Rangers rally. And he scored the final run to push Cleveland to the win column.

On a night when a pile of problems could have sunk the Tribe, Ramirez and the Cleveland offense bailed out the pitchers and pulled off a 9-8 victory in 11 innings at Globe Life Park. Trevor Bauer lasted only four innings, new relief ace Brad Hand allowed a home run and Cody Allen blew a save.

View Full Game Coverage

Cleveland won anyway.

"What can't he do? He can do everything," Indians reliever Dan Otero said of Ramirez. "I'm glad he's on our team. He does something every game that I feel like kind of wows us. He doesn't really surprise us anymore, but it's kind of like, 'Oh my gosh, this guy's really good.'"

Video: CLE@TEX: Indians reflect on 9-8 win in 11 innings

In the sixth inning, Ramirez became the first Major Leaguer to reach 30 homers this season, setting a career high in the process. The leadoff shot on a first-pitch fastball against Texas lefty Martin Perez pulled the game into a 4-4 tie and sparked a four-run push by the Indians offense over the next two frames.

Ramirez opened the 11th inning with a double to the wall in right-center field and then scored on a go-ahead single by Edwin Encarnacion. That cancelled out the back-to-back home runs that Allen allowed to Robinson Chirinos and Joey Gallo (two homers in the loss) in the ninth inning, which tied the game 8-8 at the time.

Video: CLE@TEX: Encarnacion lines a go-ahead RBI hit in 11th 

"He's got a career high in homers, and it's July 20th," Allen said. "He's a guy that's in very elite company in a lot of things. He's a great player. The guy wants to be great. He cares about winning as much as the next guy."

With his performance, Ramirez now ranks first in MLB with 6.7 Wins Above Replacement (via Fangraphs), moving ahead of Angels superstar Mike Trout and Boston's Mookie Betts, who have 6.4 apiece. The Tribe's switch-hitting slugger leads the Majors in extra-base hits with 59, is sporting a .302/.400/.635 slash line and has more walks (57) than strikeouts (48).

Against the Rangers, Ramirez also came up big in the field.

Texas was on the cusp of a walkoff win in the 10th, when reliever Zach McAllister gave up three straight singles to load the bases. He then induced a chopper off the bat of Ronald Guzman to Ramirez, who gloved the grounder and fired the ball to catcher Yan Gomes for an out at the plate.

"[That] almost looks like a game-winner," said Indians manager Terry Francona, referring to the Guzman grounder to Ramirez. "Josey backhands it. That was a harder play than he made it look."

McAllister then struck out Chirinos and Gallo to strand all three runners.

Video: CLE@TEX: McAllister strands the bases loaded in 10th

"Either get them out or walk off the mound," McAllister said. "To me, I was just trying to let everything go as hard as I could and rip some breaking balls and try to put it where they couldn't hit it. … I definitely don't want to put myself in that situation, but I was glad I was able to get out of it for sure."

Ramirez was not alone when it came to bailing out Bauer (four runs on nine hits with five walks in a 102-pitch effort) and Allen. Yandy Diaz enjoyed a four-hit night in his season debut for the Tribe. Jason Kipnis launched a two-run homer and had three RBIs in the win. Brandon Guyer collected three hits.

Video: CLE@TEX: Diaz notches 4 hits in 1st game of 2018

"There's always times that they pitch really well," Ramirez said through team translator Will Clements. "So, it's nice to be able to pick them up."

Bauer smirked when asked if the team has come to expect the unexpected from Ramirez.

"What's unexpected about that? I don't think anyone here is surprised," Bauer said. "When Josey hits a homer or makes a great play at third or spins himself into a top and hits a ball off the top of a wall or something like that, it's like, 'Yeah, that's Josey.' It's spectacular, but it's the norm."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Oliver's escape: With the Rangers looking to build on a 4-3 lead in the fifth, veteran lefty Oliver Perez took over for Bauer with no outs and runners on first and second. The 36-year-old reliever started by creating a pair of pop-outs in foul territory off the bats of Gallo and Delino DeShields. Perez finished off the frame with a called strikeout against Shin-Soo Choo. Through 22 appearances, the left-hander now has a 0.63 ERA for the Indians. That escape came right before Ramirez's game-tying home run.

"I thought Oliver saved the game right there," Francona said. "That was about four hours ago. If he doesn't pitch well, we're going to lose."

Trouble in the ninth: Armed with a two-run lead and with two outs already recorded, Allen fired a fastball to Chirinos in a 1-0 count in the ninth. The Texas catcher crushed the pitch a projected 456 feet to left-center to trim the Tribe's lead to 8-7. One pitch later, the closer challenged Gallo with a high-and-tight four-seamer, when the slugger sent a projected 472 feet to right. Allen, who has allowed nine runs (six vs. the Reds on July 13) in his last four appearances combined, escaped further damage, but sent the game into extras.

"It wasn't exactly the way we drew it up," Allen said. "I hate to say this, but a win's a win. It shouldn't have come to that, but sometimes it does. And really good teams find a way to win those games and tonight we did."

Video: CLE@TEX: Rangers go back-to-back to tie game in 9th

THE NEW GUYS
Texas' late push began in the seventh, when Hand took over with one out in the seventh and surrendered a two-run homer to Gallo to cut Cleveland's lead to 7-6 at the time. From there, the new Tribe lefty set down the next three batters he faced in order, working into the eighth inning.

It was reminiscent of Aug. 1, 2016, when Andrew Miller allowed a home run to the first batter he faced (Joe Mauer) in his first appearance for the Indians after being acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Yankees. Miller went on to be a force for Cleveland in its '16 World Series run.

Video: CLE@TEX: Hand K's Calhoun for 1st Indians strikeout

"It's a good omen that Hand gave up a homer his first outing for us," quipped Otero, who worked the 11th inning to earn the save. "Andrew did the same thing a couple years ago and this one went further. … So, maybe we'll go a little further also in the playoffs. Who knows?"

Tribe fans also got their first look at sidearmer Adam Cimber, who was acquired with Hand from the Padres in exchange for catching prospect Francisco Mejia on Thursday. Cimber gave up one-out single to Elvis Andrus, but then created an inning-ending double play from Adrian Beltre.

Video: CLE@TEX: Cimber gets inning-ending DP in the 8th

SOUND SMART
Ramirez is the first batter in Indians history to have at least 20 stolen bases and 30 home runs within the team's first 100 games of a season. In fact, Ramirez has joined Alex Rodriguez (1998), Jeff Bagwell (1999) and Alfonso Soriano (2006) as the only players to accomplish that feat in MLB history.

Ramirez is the fourth Indians player (five times overall) to reach 30 homers within the team's first 97 games. The others include Rocky Colavito (1959), Albert Belle (1994 and '96) and Jim Thome (2001).

UP NEXT
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (11-5, 4.12 ERA) is slated to take the mound for the Tribe on Saturday, when the Rangers host the Indians in an 8:05 p.m. ET tilt at Globe Life Park. Carrasco is 4-3 with a 3.33 ERA in eight road outings this season. Texas will counter with righty Bartolo Colon (5-7, 4.64 ERA). 

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.

Cleveland Indians, Jose Ramirez