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Indians hit 11 doubles to avoid sweep

By PAUL HOYNES • Jul 1, 2018 at 8:59 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. —Manager Terry Francona was talking about offense before Sunday's game and what the Indians weren't doing well.

He said they were chasing too many pitches out of the strike zone and not creating enough traffic on the bases. He said the Indians were at their best when everyone in the lineup reached base, showed patience and ran the bases well.

Francona seemed to say that too many players were trying to win games by themselves by hitting home runs.

On Sunday the Indians combined the good with the bad and everything in between in beating Oakland, 15-3, at the Coliseum to avoid a three-game sweep.

Of course, it was nice to see the uncramped Mike Clevinger (7-3, 3.11) return to form with six solid innings. Clevinger was felled by leg cramps in a 4-0 loss to the Cardinals at the start of this trip on June 25.

There was stellar defense as well, as Rajai Davis made two fine catches in center field and Lonnie Chisenhall made a diving catch along the right field line to end the first with the bases loaded.

Then came the offense with the tone being set in the first inning.

Michael Brantley hit the first of 11 doubles by the Indians. He took third on a fly ball to center by Jose Ramirez. Then Edwin Encarnacion, instead of swinging for the fences, singled to right field for a 1-0 lead against Frankie Montas (4-2, 3.83).

The 11 doubles were the most the Indians have hit in one game since their club-record 12 against the Twins on July 13, 1996.

It's not like the Indians turned every one of those doubles into runs, but they sure sounded nice coming off the bat. Shortstop Francisco Lindor, who hit two doubles and a homer, was stranded in the third. Chisenhall was deserted at second in the fourth as Clevinger clung to a 1-0 lead.

Ramirez made it 2-1 in the fifth as he doubled home Lindor, who reached on his second double in as many at-bats. The A's used two doubles of their own by Khris Davis and Matt Olson to make it a 2-1 game in the fourth.

In the fifth, Yonder Alonso hit a leadoff double and moved to third on Chisenhall's sacrifice bunt. Yan Gomes struck out, but Jason Kipnis delivered with a two-out double to right center for a 3-1 lead.

Through six innings, the Indians had hit seven doubles. Then they really started hitting the ball hard.

Lindor started the seventh with his 21st homer and second in as many games. Encarnacion, two outs later, followed with No. 20.

With Ramirez, Lindor and Encarnacion, it's the first time the Indians have had three players with 20 or more homers before the All-Star break since 2001 with Ellis Burks, Jim Thome and Juan Gonzalez.

Then, to put the cherry on top of the sundae, the Indians scored scored eight runs in the eighth inning. All this from a team that scored 10 runs in the first five games of this nine-game trip.

The Indians' half of the eighth took 26 minutes as they sent 13 batters to the plate. The first 10 batters reached base before the A's registered an out. Oakland's Chris Hatcher started the inning and allowed four runs on four hits without registering an out. Josh Lucas, another right-hander, relieved and allowed four more runs, but managed to end the onslaught.

Just for the heck of it, they scored two more runs in the ninth.

The Tribe finished with 20 hits include four by Alonso. Lindor, Ramirez and Chisenhall had three hits each.

What it means

In the first two series of this three-city trip, the Indians have avoided being swept with victories in the third and final game of each series.

The pitches

Montas threw 89 pitches, 60 (67 percent) for strikes. Clevinger threw 106, 66 (62 percent) for strikes.

Double your pleasure.

Lindor, Chisenhall, Ramirez and Alonso had two doubles each. Kansas City was the last team with 11 doubles in a game. They did it against the Yankees on Aug. 11, 2003.

Thanks for coming

The Indians and Royals drew 16,164 fans to the Coliseum on Sunday. First pitch was at 4:07 p.m. with a temperature of 68 degrees.

Up next

The Indians open a three-game series at 8:15 p.m. tonight against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Corey Kluber (11-4, 2.54) will faced the right-hander Jakob Junis (5-9, 4.67). SportsTime Ohio and WLKR/FM 95.3 will carry the game.

Kluber, coming off the shortest start in his career, is 1-0 against the Royals this year and 10-6 in his career.

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