The Cleveland Indians put their foot on the gas pedal in the first inning and never let up, clobbering the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 14-2 on Friday night.
It was St. Louis starter Daniel Ponce de Leon who opened the floodgates. He recorded two outs and threw 41 pitches, recording one swing-and-a-miss, before getting sent to the showers. Ponce de Leon had no feel for his fastball and the Tribe racked up four runs against him in the first inning, capped by a three-run bomb to right center courtesy of Franmil Reyes.
Cleveland poured it on from there, with Carlos Santana extending their lead to 6-0 in the second inning with a two-run blast inside the foul pole in right field. St. Louis struck back in the bottom of the second with a two-run homer of their own, but that was all the response the Cardinals could muster as the Indians loaded up on insurance runs. Tyler Naquin restored the Tribe’s six run lead in the fifth with his first homer of the season, and then came a four-run sixth inning to put an even dozen on the board. Everyone up and down the lineup contributed in one way or another, but Reyes was the star of the show, batting 3-for-4 and racking up 5 RBIs.
Even Delino DeShields, Jordan Luplow, and Yu Chang picked up RBIs.
But perhaps the brightest spot in the lineup, outside of Reyes, was Roberto Pérez. The Indians’ catcher went 3-for-5 and drew a walk for his first multi-hit game of the season.
Triston McKenzie’s second career big-league start feels like a footnote buried underneath the Indians’ offensive explosion, but he was solid on the mound. It wasn’t the same caliber of performance he delivered in his debut, giving up three walks and only striking out three as he labored through four innings. His biggest mistake of the night was a fastball up in the zone against Dexter Fowler, who launched it into the bullpen in right field for a two-run homer.
The Tribe turned to Cam Hill and Adam Plutko to cover the final five frames.
And I’d be remiss if I did not mention that the Indians committed one of the most bizarre TOOTBLANs I’ve ever seen. In the second inning José Ramírez and César Hernández were at first and third with no outs, and here is the sequence of events that followed:
- Francisco Lindor slapped a grounder to first base, and Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt fired the ball to catcher Yadier Molina at home plate.
- Molina proceeded to chase an advancing Hernández back toward third base.
- Ramírez, seeing that Molina had Hernández dead to rights, advanced toward third, but got within a few feet of the bag before abruptly deciding to retreat back to second.
- Molina tagged Hernández out and then proceeded to chase Ramírez to second.
- Lindor, standing on second, was forced to sprint back to first base.
- Ramírez, for reasons unknown, stopped short of second base and was tagged out when Molina threw the ball to the center fielder Dylan Carlson, who had come in to cover second.
If you need to see it to believe it: