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Hats off: Jose Ramirez leads Cleveland Indians past Kansas City Royals

By The Sports Xchange
Cleveland Indians Jose Ramirez celebrates with teammates. UPI/John Angelillo
Cleveland Indians Jose Ramirez celebrates with teammates. UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When Jose Ramirez runs the bases, his helmet usually flies off.

It flew off a lot on Saturday.

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Ramirez tripled and doubled among his three hits and scored three runs, while Carlos Santana drove in three as the Cleveland Indians topped the Kansas City Royals 9-5.

"I thought it used to be the haircut, but I think it's all the shoulder movement and the helmet won't stay on," manager Terry Francona said of Ramirez. "That's all right: When it falls off, that means good things are happening."

A lot of good things happened for the Indians in topping the Royals for the second straight night.

"He's a little guy, but he's strong," Francona said. "And he can put a jolt into it. He hits the ball all over the field. It's really welcome. He's probably not your prototypical third baseman, but he's playing good third and he's getting big hits for us."

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The Indians are 28-17 since Aug. 7, when they were 10 games below .500. The victory moved them one game above .500 at 78-77, matching their high-water mark for the season.

The Indians padded their lead with a three-run sixth, which included RBI singles by second baseman Jason Kipnis and shortstop Francisco Lindor. First baseman Santana drove home the other run with a fielder's choice groundout.

"We scored early, which is good, but they kept answering back, which good teams do," Francona said. "We answered back and tacked on and ended up having a good win because they kept coming."

Four Indians relievers shut out the Royals for 5 1/3 innings, with Zach McAllister (4-4) credited with the victory. The Royals failed to get a hit after Indians starter Josh Tomlin was pulled.

The Royals and Toronto Blue Jays are tied for the best AL record at 89-65, with home-field advantage through the postseason at stake.

The Indians jumped on Royals right-hander Kris Medlen for six runs and nine hits, six of them for extra-bases, in 3 2/3 innings.

However, Tomlin was not much better, allowing five runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

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"The bullpen came in and did an outstanding job," Tomlin said. "The offense did an outstanding job. It's a good win tonight."

Santana's first-inning triple that scooted by right fielder Alex Rios scored Kipnis and Lindor.

The Indians added two more runs in the third. Third baseman Ramirez led off with a triple and scored on Lindor's sacrifice fly. Catcher Yan Gomes hit his 12th homer, with two outs.

Ramirez's double in the fourth scored left fielder Mike Aviles, who had singled. Ramirez motored to third on the throw home and scored on Medlen's wild pitch, making it 6-2.

Medlen failed to survive the inning. After he walked Lindor, Jeremy Guthrie replaced him.

"I didn't feel up to par," Medlen said. "I was falling behind guys. I feel like they made some adjustments from last time and laid off some decent pitches that I let go of, but overall just couldn't get comfortable and just a frustrating, frustrating outing, especially given the fact that we scored some runs tonight and all that."

Ben Zobrist homered in the first inning for Kansas City. Shortstop Alcides Escobar tripled with one out in the third and scored on left fielder Alex Gordon's single.

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Tomlin was chased in the Royals' three-run fourth, which featured catcher Salvador Perez's two-run double. Escobar's single scored Perez, cutting the Indians' lead to one run.

That was manager Terry Francona's cue to pull Tomlin and summon McAllister from the bullpen.

"Esky's swinging the bat really well," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He's just seeing the ball good. He's really focusing on staying up the middle, which keeps his bat in the strike zone longer. He's a guy that can drive the ball to all fields."

Indians right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall was removed in the third inning with hamstring cramping and replaced by Jerry Sands.

NOTES: RHPs Corey Kluber (230) and Carlos Carrasco (211) are the first Indians teammates to reach the 200-strikeout plateau since Sam McDowell and Luis Tiant in 1967 and 1968. ... Manager Ned Yost started his varsity lineup Saturday after resting most of his regulars Friday, when the Royals were held to one hit by Carrasco. ... After the Chiefs practiced Saturday, coach Andy Reid praised the Royals and manager Ned Yost. "Phenomenal job, division champs, a beautiful thing," Reid said. The Chiefs play Monday night at Green Bay. ... Indians OF Michael Brantley missed his fourth straight game with a right shoulder injury. ... Indians RHP Danny Salazar and Royals RHP Chris Young are the Sunday probables. It will be the Royals' home finale.

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