CLEVELAND – The Indians have not lost four games in a row since July 23-28, 2015.
Their magical combination of consistency and relentlessness kept the never-ending streak alive in miraculous fashion.
After Texas battered Carlos Carrasco for eight runs on six hits, the Tribe fought back from a 9-2 hole with 13 unanswered runs to beat the Rangers, 15-9, at Progressive Field.
Not only does Cleveland regain first place atop the AL Central division, but they also register their largest come-from-behind victory dating back to April 17, 2012 vs. Seattle (seven-run deficit). The club’s 15 runs are a season-high and their 19 hits tie a season-high.
Eight different players in the lineup recorded multiple hits, including Lonnie Chisenhall with a trio of singles, Roberto Perez with a pair of doubles and seven total walks between the hot-hitting, yet disciplined bunch. All hitters reached base at least twice.
For good measure, the home nine batted 11-for-28 with runners in scoring position after going 1-for-23 this past weekend. The last time the Tribe recorded 15 runs in a game without a home run came on July 31, 1983 against the Blue Jays (16 runs).
Carrasco gives up four-run first, three-run second
The first four hitters of the game reached base, including Adrian Beltre with a three-run homer to deal Carlos Carrasco a 4-0 deficit.
“I didn’t have my command,” said Carrasco. “I got behind the hitters and when I tried to throw strikes, they got me. That’s how they got the hits and the doubles and the homers. That’s what happens when you get behind in the count and you have to throw a strike.”
Carlos Santana recorded an RBI on a groundout, but Carrasco unraveled further when Elvis Andrus crushed another three-run blast to put the deficit at six runs.
“It was a little disappointing,” Carrasco said. “I wanted to go a little deeper in the game, but it didn’t happen, so we had to use the bullpen.”
Joey Gallo knocked Carrasco out of the game with a solo shot, his 20th of the campaign – 3.1 IP, 6 H, 8 R/ER, 3 BB, 7 K (78 pitches, 46 strikes, 59%, two groundouts, zero flyouts).
Andrus records multiple home runs; Indians rally back
Dan Otero could not silence the opposition at the plate, allowing a home run to Andrus, his second of the game and second career multi-homer performance (9/24/2016).
“I think it was early enough and the guys realized we still had enough time to be able to come back,” said Brad Mills, who took over for the ill manager Terry Francona. “Something has to start that swing.”
The comeback began with Francisco Lindor’s RBI groundout, Chisenhall’s RBI single, Perez’s bases-loaded walk and Bradley Zimmer’s RBI groundout, all in the fifth inning off the laboring Cole Hamels – 4.1 IP, 8 H, 7 R/ER, 4 BB, 1 K (92 pitches, 48 strikes, 52.2%, eight groundouts, two flyouts).
“We went from how we were going to work things out and getting through this thing being being down the seven runs,” Mills said. “And then all of a sudden we started to come back, and everything else changed on the way in.”
One inning later, the Tribe tallied five more scores, headlined by Santana’s RBI single and Chisenhall’s two-run single. Lindor capped off the outburst with an RBI single of his own.
“It’s awesome,” said Chisenhall. “This is the best win of the year, I think, especially coming back early, showing that fight, chipping away, chipping away, breaking through. That’s a byproduct of what we did in the box. And the bullpen came in and covered a lot of innings.”
Mercilessly, the offense continued to accumulate.
Four doubles in the seventh frame helped chip in another three runs, all of which came off the bats of Santana, Perez and Zimmer.
“I think it’s huge,” Zimmer said. “I think it goes to show how in it and together we all are. I think everyone contributed in some way today. I think our offense was the big piece tonight. It just goes to show that it was a team effort.”
“It was a really fun game to be a part of. It just goes to show anything can happen if you keep grounding away at-bats and chipping away. Something like this will happen.”
The back end of the bullpen comprised of Boone Logan, Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen and Nick Goody combined for four frames of one-hit ball with eight strikeouts to boot.
“It was a great game all around,” said Shaw. “I think coming off the type of series we just came off of, any win would be a good win. But for us to come out today and come back the way we did just shows the heart, the drive that we have to win. It was kind of a down series for us the last couple days. We’re going to hopefully continue to do what we’re doing.”
Central Division update
The Twins (39-35) lost to the Red Sox while the Yankees beat the White Sox (32-43).
The series continues on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. from Progressive Field.
RHP Mike Clevinger (3-3, 3.86) will toe the rubber after throwing five innings of two-run ball last Thursday at Baltimore. The 26-year-old has never started against the Rangers, but has held their hitters to a .000 (0-for-9) clip in relief.
RHP Tyson Ross (1-1, 9.35) is scheduled for his third outing of 2017, the first of which will come on the road. The veteran arm suffered from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome this past season but features a 1-1 record and 1.77 ERA in four games (three starts) vs. Cleveland.
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.