Abraham Almonte, that is. Making his debut with the Indians, Double-A was just one of the offensive batteries that lit up the scoreboard as the Tribe racked up a season high 17 runs on 19 hits. Almonte went 4 for 5 with two doubles, a single, a moonshot homer, 2 RBI and 3 runs.
Jose Ramirez sparked the top of the lineup filling in once again for the injured Jason Kipnis. All Ramirez did tonight was hit a single, a triple and a double his first three times up, then walked in the eighth to tally 3 RBI and add another 3 runs of his own.
Michael Brantley was 3 for 4 with a walk. The list of offensive heroics goes on and on, as it oh-so-rarely has done this season. In fact, every Indians starter, pinch hitter and replacement all reached base at least once, except for another newcomer, Chris Johnson, who flied to right field when he pinch hit in the ninth. Francisco Lindor sacrificed his first three times up — a bunt in the first to move Ramirez into scoring position for the Tribe’s first run, then two sac flies to chip in 2 more RBI. It was the first time an Indians player had 3 sacrifices in one game since Mel Hall did so in the ’80s.
Then there was Jerry Sands. Pinch hitting for Lonnie Chisenhall (who already had 2 singles in 3 at-bats), Sands drove a laser shot over the opposite field wall for the Indians’ first grand slam this season.
With little at stake in the big picture of the remaining schedule, it seems like the Indians have relaxed a bit at home, scoring 38 runs in the last three games at Progressive Field.
Tonight’s opposing pitcher victim was Ervin Santana, whose career performance in Cleveland has been shaky except for — oh, yeah — that no-hitter he pitched for the Angels here in 2011. Santana lasted only 2.1 innings, yielding 8 earned runs on 10 hits against the suddenly red-hot Tribe swingers.
Trevor Bauer turned in a respectable start, going 6.1 innings and giving up all 4 Twins’ runs including 3 homers. Yet there have been far too many times that a performance like that, combined with the Indians’ prevailing inability to score runs, would have been a formula for loss this season. So I was happy Bauer got the W to offset too many times the lack of run support failed to reward a better start for him.
Before the game began, I couldn’t help but notice that the infield grass along the first-to-third basepath looks like it’s yellowing prematurely — a fitting symbol for a season fading too soon. So I decided to just focus on this one game for the singular entertainment it would bring. It turned out to be the most enjoyable contest of the year for those of us loyal to the Tribe.