Jose Ramirez and Bradley Zimmer each had 4 RBI to keep Cleveland’s newly discovered run-scoring machine humming as they took down the Twins 9-3 in the opening game of Saturday’s double header. Over the last three games, the Tribe has racked up 29 runs.
Ramirez homered from both sides of the plate as he went 3 for 5, including a 2-RBI double, to keep his hot bat sizzling. Zimmer went 2 for 4 with clutch 2-out RBI hits and got credit for plating another run when he hit a fielder’s choice to the right side of the infield and scored Carlos Santana from third.
Jason Kipnis also went 3 for 5 including a 2-out double in the ninth that allowed Erik Gonzalez to score from first, even though Kip didn’t get an RBI due to Twins’ right fielder Robbie Grossman juggling the ball a little bit. Gonzalez was 3 for 4 plus a walk and scored twice. Edwin Encarnacion walked three times, hit a bloop single and scored twice.
All in all, an impressive offensive showing from the Tribe with 14 hits and 8 earned runs. The Indians practiced great patience at the plate, earning 7 walks and forcing Twins’ starter Adam Wilk to throw 92 pitches in only 3.1 innings. Even with 9 runs across the plate, the Indians left another 11 runners stranded.
Tribe spot-starter Ryan Merritt pitched well enough if not exactly spectacular. Merritt breezed through the first 2 innings giving up only one single. He gave up 1 run in the third inning before inducing a double play to get out of a jam, then ran into trouble with two outs in the fourth, giving up two consecutive singles then a double to allow Minnesota another 2 runs.
This victory pulled Cleveland into a tie for first place with the Twins in the AL Central. One way or another, the tie won’t last long as Game 2 of the double header gets underway at 8:10 p.m. ET.