CLEVELAND — The Indians have a foursome of All-Stars atop their batting order — and, yes, it’s been pretty fearsome.
The powerful production of Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley, Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion was on display again Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field as Cleveland rolled 12-2 over Central Division rival Detroit to complete the sweep and extend its winning streak to a season-high seven games.
Lindor, Brantley, Ramirez and Encarnacion accounted for 11 of the Indians’ season-high 19 hits, 10 of 12 RBIs and seven runs.
“I’m glad they’re on our team, that’s all I’ve got to say,” said right-hander Adam Plutko, who was the beneficiary of the support, winning for the fourth time in five starts on the big league level. “Shoot, if you can get through them three times you had yourself a great day.”
Lindor recorded his team-leading 31st multihit game, hitting a home run for the third straight game and falling a triple shy of the cycle, while Brantley also hadthree hits — including a two-run single in the second — to extend his on-base streak at home to a career-high 25 games.
Ramirez also had three hits, including his American League-leading 23rd homer, and pushed his on-base streak to a career-high 31 games, the second-longest active streak in the majors.
Encarnacion drove in Cleveland’s first run with a two-out double in the first, then put an exclamation point on the rout with a grand slam as the Indians batted around in the eighth.
“It’s definitely a great foursome that we have there between Lindor, Brantley, myself and Edwin,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “I know it’s definitely a challenge for a lot of opposing teams that have to go against us. So it’s really a pretty thing that we have going on there now.”
Encarnacion (6-foot-1, 230 pounds) is considered the home run hitter, but it’s been the 5-9, 190-pound Ramirez who has flexed his power muscles more. He’s the first Cleveland player to lead the league in homers on June 24 (he’s tied with the Angels’ Mike Trout) since Albert Belle (25) in 1996.
“It’s unbelievable,” Encarnacion said of Ramirez’s homer count. “It’s been impressive, man. But I’m not surprised. He’s got a great swing, great compact swing. I’m not surprised at all.”
The Indians also got two hits apiece from the bottom of the order — Yan Gomes, Jason Kipnis and Rajai Davis.
Kipnis led off the five-run eighth inning with his seventh homer. The struggling second baseman hit only three homers over the first two months, but has four in June and has raised his batting average over .200.
There was quality pitching for the Indians, as well, with Plutko lowering his ERA under 5.00 after allowing two runs — both in the fourth — on six hits, while striking out four over six innings.
The first two batters of the game reached against Plutko, who retired the next nine.
“I don’t think he had his best stuff, nor his best command, and we made a couple of mistakes behind him, but he stayed out there for six innings and gave up two runs,” manager Terry Francona said. “I thought he did a heck of a job.”
“Every time I get the ball at the major league level, it’s not something I have a ton of experience at,” Plutko said. “So I learn something every time and today I was pretty happy how everything turned out.”
The Indians were pretty happy with how the weekend series turned out against the second-place Tigers, whom they outscored 26-3 in three games to extend their division lead to eight games.