As for new Yankee Stadium, he likes it just fine. So do his teammates.
Ramirez hit a grand slam and two-run homer in his first two at-bats Thursday night as the Indians hung a 19-5 shiner on the Yankees in the Bronx. Ramirez is hitting .426 (26-for-61) with six homers and 13 RBIs in 16 games at Yankee Stadium.
The Indians (73-49) remained a half-game behind Minnesota in the AL Central Division standings, and also stayed two games ahead of Tampa Bay and Oakland for the AL Wild Card Game home position.
The third grand slam of the season by the Indians was part of a seven-run first inning that featured consecutive homers by Ramirez and Kipnis followed by a two-run homer by Roberto Perez. The homer by Perez gave him 20 for the season, making him just the seventh Indians catcher to hit at least 20 homers in a season.
The Indians finished with 24 hits, including seven homers. Ramirez and Santana hit two homers each. Kipnis, Perez and Greg Allen finished the long-ball display. It matched the home-run output by the Indians on April 30, 2013 against the Phillies.
“We were thrilled to get the runs early, but you look at their lineup and say ‘let’s keep going,’” said Indians manager Terry Francona, who moved into third place all-time in franchise history with 618 wins. “You don’t have many nights like tonight, but we’ll certainly take them. I thought one-through-nine we had great at-bats.”
The Tribe posted a hit-heavy boxscore in which every starter had at least two hits. Allen led the way with four. Santana, Naquin and Perez had three each.
“He’s earned some at-bats,” Francona said of Allen. “It’s never a bad thing. He’s giving us, just like Oscar (Mercado) has, some speed and life in our lineup wherever we put him.”
Ramirez’s slam came off reliever Chad Green, who served as the Yankees’ opener on Thursday. It was the first time in club history that the Indians had 24 hits and seven homers in the same game.
The game was reminiscent of the Indians’ 22-4 victory over the Yankees on April 19, 2009. It was just the third game played at new Yankee Stadium and they finished with 25 hits, one more than Thursday night.
The win went to Adam Plutko (5-3, 4.67), who allowed three runs on six hits in six innings. Plutko, 2-0 against the Yankees this season, struck out three and walked one. Green (2-4, 5.59) was the loser. He recorded one out, while allowing five runs on four hits.
“His first inning was kind of iffy, then he reeled it in,” Francona said of Plutko. “You give us six good innings against this lineup, we’ll take it.”
The Indians sent 10 men to the plate and scored seven runs in the first inning. It was basically batting practice after that. Ramirez finished with six RBIs, tying a career high. He was removed from the game after walking in the seventh.
Francisco Lindor and Allen opened the game with singles. Santana walked to load the bases. Yasiel Puig struck out to bring Ramirez to the plate. Ramirez hit a 3-2 pitch over the wall in right center. Ramirez has 19 homers for the season.
Kipnis followed Ramirez with his 12th homer. Santana’s two homers give him 29 for the season.
The Indians following their seven-run first inning with a five-run eighth inning. That featured a three-run homer by Allen.
Rookie Aaron Civale (1-1, 1.00) will face the Yankees and RHP Masahiro Tanaka (8-6, 4.64) at 7:05 p.m. Friday night. Civale, who has never faced the Yankees, will be making the fourth start of his big-league career. In his last start, he allowed just one run in six innings on Sunday against the Twins at Target Field. The Indians won that game, 7-3, in 10 innings.
Tanaka is 5-1 in is last 10 stars. He is 1-2 with a 4.25 ERA in five career starts against the Indians.