Indians' offense tries to stay hot vs. O's
The Cleveland Indians appear to have located an offense that had been missing for much of 2019.
After setting season-high totals in runs in back-to-back games, the Indians look to continue both their hot hitting and recent dominance of the Baltimore Orioles on Friday when the clubs play the second contest of their four-game series in Cleveland.
Jason Kipnis belted two homers, drove in a career-high six runs and scored three times as the Indians erupted for a season-high 14 hits in a 14-7 victory over Baltimore on Thursday. The win was Cleveland's 12th in its last 15 encounters with the Orioles, who have lost seven of their last eight overall.
"I just felt as a group (on Thursday), we played with some personality," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We got down early, and instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they kept fighting and good things happened. We ran the bases really well, we swung at strikes."
Carlos Santana matched a season high with three RBIs, Francisco Lindor recorded his fourth multi-hit performance in five games and Carlos Gonzalez collected three hits and is 10-for-30 over his last nine contests.
Despite those statistics, Kipnis and company want to see more out of an offense that entered the game batting an American League second-worst .221 as a team.
"We know we need to get better, there's no hiding that," the 32-year-old Kipnis said after notching his fifth career multi-home run performance and first since May 14, 2017, vs. Minnesota.
"... We need to be more of a complete offense, not just nine guys trying to get hits in the order. That means taking your pitches, taking your walks, not trying to get the RBI yourself and maybe move it along to put pressure on (the opponent), and I think you saw the immediate results (on Thursday)."
Kipnis is 4-for-9 with a homer in his career versus Friday starter Dylan Bundy (1-5, 5.31 ERA), who sports a 3-1 mark with a 3.78 ERA in four career encounters (three starts) with Cleveland.
Bundy answered a season-high, 7 1/3-inning outing by surrendering multiple homers for the fourth time in his last seven in a 7-2 setback against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday. The 26-year-old Bundy has been taken deep 11 times this season after giving up 41 in 2018, seven more than any other pitcher in the majors.
Speaking of homers, Trey Mancini belted his team-leading ninth with a three-run shot in the third inning on Thursday. The blast was Mancini's third since May 10 after opening the season with six in his first 12 games.
"We had a lot of momentum early on, and kind of had them on their heels and let them hang around, and kind of lost control of the game as it went on," the 27-year-old Mancini told the Baltimore Sun of Thursday's loss. "Not one of our better games overall -- probably one of our worst."
Mancini homered in one of his two career at-bats versus right-hander Jefry Rodriguez (1-2, 2.92 ERA), who will get the nod on Friday after posting three straight quality starts.
Rodriguez yielded three runs on six hits in six innings to pick up the win in Sunday's 5-3 victory at Oakland.
The 6-foot-6 Rodriguez escaped with a no-decision in his lone career start against Baltimore on June 19, his second appearance in the majors. Rodriguez, who was pitching for Washington, permitted five runs on four hits -- including two homers -- in five innings.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 17, 2019