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Ramirez knocks rumors out of the park as Indians beat White Sox

By PAUL HOYNES • May 29, 2018 at 9:53 PM

CLEVELAND — Rumors hurt, they usually do. But they don't do real damage unless one lets them.

It would appear Jose Ramirez has adopted that philosophy plus one of his own - swing away.

The All-Star third baseman helped the Indians beat the White Sox on Tuesday night, 7-3, with a home run and double after a rumor surfaced earlier in the day out of his native Dominican Republic that he had tested positive for steroids and was about to be handed an 80-game suspension.

Major League Baseball told Chris Antonetti, Indians president of baseball operations, that the rumor was false. Which is exactly what Ramirez told them when they asked him about the report.

There was nothing phony about the contact Ramirez made against Chicago's Lucas Giolito (3-6, 7.53) in the Tribe's fourth straight win. He doubled home Michael Brantley in the first and hit his team-high 16th homer in the fifth to help Mike Clevinger (4-2, 3.14) break a two-start losing streak.

The rumors came from a blog in the Dominican Republic that was not linked to any news agency. Still, the Indians scrambling before the game to try and find out if there was any truth to it.

Said Antonetti, "It's an unsubstantiated report with no truth to it."

Clevinger, meanwhile, held the White Sox to one run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked two. In his last two starts he allowed eight earned runs on 15 hits in 11 2/3 innings.

Yes, Clevinger did have one of those moments where the game threatened to get away from him. It came in the second when Tim Anderson singled home Daniel Palka and stole second base with the score, 2-1.

But Clevinger pumped the brakes and kept his hands on the wheel this time. He retired Adam Engel, walked Charlie Tillson and struck out Omar Narvaez to end the inning. After that Clevinger owned the road as allowed just two hits over the last 4 2/3 innings.

The Indians took an early 2-0 lead in the first and just kept scoring against Giolito, who entered the game leading the AL in walks, runs and earned runs.

Brantley singled with one out in the first and scored on Ramirez's double to left. Ramirez came around to score on consecutive singles by Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso.

Brantley's single extended his hitting streak to 18 games. The streak started on May 9 and is the third longest of Brantley's career.

Chicago made it 2-1 in the second, but Clevinger stayed out of serious trouble as the Indians continued to hound Giolito. Brantley homered in the third for a 3-1 lead. It was his seventh homer in May and ninth overall.

They made it 5-1 with two more runs in the fifth. Rookie Greg Allen opened with a double and scored on Francisco Lindor's single to right. Lindor stole second, but was erased when Brantley lined into a double play at first base.

Ramirez kept things going with a homer to center field. It was his 16th homer of the season and ninth in May. Ramirez's 16 homers have come in 52 games. Last season he had seven homers in 52 games.

Not only does Ramirez lead the Indians in homers and RBI, but he ranks third in the AL in homers and RBI.

Brantley finished with three of the Tribe's 15 hits. He singled home run a in the seventh for his 35th RBI. In the ninth, Jason Kipnis hit his third homer of the season. The win gave the Indians a 13-13 record in May.

The White Sox scored twice in the ninth, forcing closer Cody Allen to start warming, but Zach McAllister ended it by retiring Narvaez on a grounder to short.

What it means

The Tribe's four-game winning streak is its longest since they won five straight from April 8 through April 12.

The pitches

Giolito threw 98 pitches, (63 percent) for strikes. Clevinger threw 108 pitches, 66 (61 percent) for strikes.

Thanks for coming

The White Sox and Indians drew 30, 441 to Progressive Field on Tuesday evening. First pitch was at 6:11 p.m. with a temperature of 81 degrees.

The attendance included the paid attendance from the Tribe's rainout against Toronto on April 15.

Up next

The Indians end their three-game series against the White Sox at 1:10 p.m. today when Corey Kluber (7-2, 2.17) faces Chicago righty Reynaldo Lopez (1-3, 2.93) at 1:10 p.m. SportsTime Ohio, WLKR-FM 95.3 will carry the game.

Kluber is coming off a start in which he held the Astros scoreless for 6 1/3 innings on Friday, but was not involved in the decision. He is 9-4 with a 3.19 ERA in 20 games, including 19 starts, against the White Sox.

Lopez is 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his last two starts. The opposition is hitting .205 against him.

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