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Jose Ramirez launches 2-run home run in the eighth to lift Indians over Blue Jays

If you hate exciting baseball, then this series probably bored you to death.

Get it Hamster. GET IT.
Get it Hamster. GET IT.
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Indians 3, Blue Jays 2

Box Score

Indians improve to 71-51

7 game lead in AL Central over Tigers; Kansas City wins 8th straight and sits 8.5 back.


Good lord.

The Indians stole this series from the Toronto Blue Jays today thanks to a 2-run home run from Jose Ramirez in the bottom of the 8th inning. The winning team in every game of the series won by a single run; in every game, a home run was the deciding hit. If this is a prequel to a playoff series later this year, it's going to be a thrilling October.

We start with a brief recap of our Corey Kluber Society meeting. During the pregame thread I suggested that the Klubot had returned in full force, ready to rip his human opponents limb from limb. This did not quite happen. Kluber struggled against the Blue Jays lineup. He coughed up four walks and six hits in 6.2 innings. To everyone's benefit, Tito Francona launched the task manager and force quit Kluber when he loaded the bases in the seventh inning as Edwin Encarnacion stepped to the plate.

Who did the ballcoach reach for? Mike Clevinger.

All around the Indians fandom screams of rage slipped from angry throats. Surely, this meant that Josh "Confused about why chicks dig the long ball" Tomlin would remain in the starting rotation, and that Clevinger would remained in the bullpen. Furthermore, in a one-run game with the bases juiced, why wouldn't you reach for Andrew Miller or Cody Allen, as Tito has proven he is willing to do? What's up, Tito?

Right. Sorry. Whatever thought process he had going on, it worked. Perhaps recognizing that unusual decisions were unfolding, the baseball gods handed us a bizarre at-bat. On a 1-2 pitch, Encarnacion called for time. Clevinger continued his normal rocking routine, but did not lift his left knee. Once he realized time had been called he stepped away from the mound and the 3rd base ump called a balk. Immediately, Francisco Lindor sprinted in and began flashing the universal time-out signal, pleading with the umpires. Every coach from both benches stumbled onto the field and talked to the umpires for more than five minutes. Clevinger stood calmly on the mound while he waited for Blue Jays manager John Gibbons to get off the field. Despite not receiving any warm-up pitches after the delay, Clevinger caught the black with a fastball and sat Encarnacion down without a swing. The young pitcher also hurled a scoreless eighth inning.

Blue Jays fans cursed the decision and turned to the Brew Kettle, searching for more of Cleveland's superior beer. Alas, they'd already missed last call, and the White Rajah may never touch their lips again. Good riddance. Go chug some Molsons in the parking lot you nefarious seat-thieving mounties, you split-head stick figures with T's and P's on your shirts.

Now, we get to the truly fun part. On four pitches, Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis recorded outs in the eighth inning. Marcus Stroman finally left the game for Toronto after Santana's at-bat. The Indians struggled against the young gunslinger all game long; it seemed that every time the Indians sent a runner to first, the next batter grounded into a double play. Perhaps this shouldn't have been too surprising, as Stroman leads the league in ground ball outs.

Surprising? Maybe not. Infuriating? I'll have to ask my neighbors who just heard some lunatic yell about situational hitting to himself for three hours.

Then: Lindor slaps a ball on the ground in the infield but beats it out to first base. Praise to thee, Francisco, for opponents look upon your works, ye mighty, and despair. Up to this point it had been a game of slow, meticulous baseball. Josh Donaldson worked deep into counts to slap singles and damage the Indians' chances. Both teams struck out ten or more hitters, dropping breaking balls just out of the reach of bats.

Jose Ramirez doesn't have time for any of that bullshit. The Angry Hamster is a vengeful monster with unparalleled clutch. He required a single pitch from Brett Cecil, which he turned on and deposited onto the home run porch in left. The Indians took a three to two lead, and at least a dozen more teenaged boys started to consider dyeing their hair the color of fire like Ramirez. Hell, I'm 26 and it's beginning to seem like the most logical option. Ever since Ramirez dyed his hair it feels like there hasn't been a single high-leverage situation where he hasn't destroyed the opposition. The man himself is the only thing hotter than his hair.

Cody Allen came on in the ninth and slammed the door shut on the series. The Indians took two out of three from the Blue Jays, and if The Rest of the Baseball goes the Tribe's way it is likely that we will see them again this season. We can only hope it will be as exciting as this one.