CHICAGO (AP) – Jose Ramirez said he wasn’t offended when a teammate was intentionally walked on Friday night to bring him to the plate with the bases loaded.
He just focused on making the move backfire.
Ramirez had four hits, including a homer, Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley also homered, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 9-3 for their eighth straight victory.
Ramirez went 4 for 5 and drove in three runs. His two-run single with the bases loaded in the fifth – following the free pass to Edwin Encarnacion – was the key hit in a four-run inning to break open the game.
“I mean, this is baseball,” Ramirez said through a translator. “I just tried to find a good pitch and put a good swing on it.”
Yan Gomes had two hits and two RBIs for the Indians, who had 16 hits and have homered in all eight games of the streak.
Danny Salazar (4-5) allowed two runs on three hits in six-plus innings to win his second straight start since being activated from the disabled list.
“As good as it was to see him in his first start, to start backing it up – that’s when it starts to get exciting,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “Eight strikeouts, two walks and he held his stuff.”
Matt Davidson hit his 20th home run for Chicago, which has dropped 13 of 14.
White Sox starter Derek Holland (5-10) allowed six runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. He has surrendered five or more runs in five of his last seven starts.
Ramirez opened the scoring with a homer leading off the second. The Indians extended the lead to 2-0 in the fourth on Gomes’ RBI single.
Holland limited the damage in the first four innings, but wasn’t as fortunate in the fifth. Santana and Francisco Lindor started the rally with back-to-back singles and advanced to second and third on a wild pitch.
After Holland retired Brantley on a comebacker, with the runners holding, Chicago manager Rick Renteria opted to try for the double play against Ramirez, who promptly singled to left to drive in two to make it 4-0.
“If they’re going to walk people, you’d like ’em to pay for it,” Francona said. “To me, he’s the ultimate protector.”
Holland struggled on the mound, but focused much of his postgame ire on home plate umpire Bill Welke.
Following a pitch in the fourth inning, Holland motioned toward home plate that the umpire was flinching on pitches. Welke then proceeded to come out to the mound, apparently berating the pitcher.
“The thing that really stands out, I think, and is disappointing is the way that I got shown up by the umpire,” Holland said. “I didn’t say anything. I kept my voice as calm as possible. I thought it was unprofessional to basically walk out and tell me he was going to show me up. I didn’t do anything and the only thing I said was, ‘Don’t flinch like that. You can’t do that. It’s showing me that’s a strike.’ The way he handled it was very unprofessional, coming out.”
Gomes, the catcher, made a nice running catch of a popup in the fifth, reaching into the first-base dugout right where Francona was seated.
“Even Bill Welke, the umpire, was laughing,” Francona said. “He goes, ‘What were you doing?” I kind of got stuck. I couldn’t go anywhere and I think I still pulled a hammy.”
Indians: INF Jason Kipnis (right hamstring strain) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus on Saturday. He’ll be the DH in the first game. “If all goes well, he’ll play second base on Sunday,” Francona said. … OF Lonnie Chisenhall (right calf strain) is progressing and is expected to begin running the bases this weekend.
Indians RHP Corey Kluber (8-3, 2.74 ERA) faces RHP Miguel Gonzalez (4-9, 4.60) in the second game of the series. Kluber has reached double digits in strikeouts in seven of eight starts, including 14 in his last start against Toronto on Sunday. Gonzalez is 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA over his last two starts.