Hallelujah! Friday’s game was an old-time offensive revival at a time when it was sorely needed to soothe frustrations and boost morale of the Indians and their hometown faithful. Coming off a horrendous 1-5 West Coast road trip against two last place teams, the Tribe caught fire behind the blazing bat of Edwin Encarnacion to rout the Blue Jays 13-3 in front of a sold-out crowd at Progressive Field.
You could sense things might finally go the Indians’ way when Roberto Perez laid down a surprise bunt and it came to rest ON the third base line for a hit. At that point in the third inning, the Tribe was already behind 2-1. But the deficit wouldn’t last long.
Encarnacion led the onslaught against his former teammates. Edwin went 3 for 4, with a homer, a clutch two-out 2 RBI double that put the Indians ahead for good, and an RBI single for a total of 4 runs batted in. The Tribe had plenty of other offensive heroes in this game, too.
Cleveland’s bats went ballistic in the fifth inning as the Indians sent 9 batters to the plate and scored 4 runs. Abraham Almonte led off with a triple. Perez walked. Erik Gonzalez singled to drive in Almonte. Francisco Lindor walked to load the bases. Michael Brantley chalked up an RBI with a fielder’s choice to the right side of the field. Encarnacion hit his double and Jose Ramirez also singled.
And that was far from the Tribe’s best inning. In the seventh, the Indians sent 13 batters to the dish as they rung up 8 runs. The big blast was a 3-run bomb by Almonte. In addition, the inning featured doubles by Gonzalez, Lindor and Ramirez — giving Jose 30 doubles on the season and the 100th for his career.
Benefiting greatly by the offense’s production was Trevor Bauer, who got the win. Although he pitched decidedly better than his last start (when he got only two outs in the first inning while giving up 4 runs), Bauer wasn’t exactly the picture of efficiency in this game. En route to throwing 112 pitches in five innings, Trevor surrendered 6 hits, 4 of which were doubles. He also walked 4 batters. So it’s a bit surprising Bauer gave up only 3 runs.
Tyler Olson, just called up from Columbus, came on in relief in the sixth and hit the only batter he faced. Then Bryan Shaw, Dan Otero and Ryan Merritt shut down the Jays the rest of the way to secure the lopsided victory.
Tribe fans everywhere are waiting for their team to go on a bona fide win streak and pull away in the tight AL Central. Will this shellacking be the start? One game does not a win streak make. But that first W is where it begins.