CLEVELAND — As is often the case when he pitches, right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez was the story of the game Monday night at Progressive Field.
And thanks to another powerful performance from the offense, there was a fairy tale ending for Jimenez and the Indians.
A second straight positive effort from the right-hander was backed by four home runs as Cleveland powered its way to a 7-3 win over Oakland in the series opener of a four-game set.
Jimenez allowed just two runs on four hits, while striking out a season-high eight batters over 5⅔ innings.
More photos below.
“I thought he worked ahead,” said manager Terry Francona, whose club won for the seventh time in eight games after having its season-long six-game win streak snapped Sunday. “He threw strike one and stayed within the count. They had to respect his fastball enough and his off-speed stuff was tremendous.
“I thought he was pitching well the whole time.”
With his fastball touching 96 mph on occasion, Jimenez (2-2, 6.37 ERA) retired 15 of the 18 batters he faced over the first five innings, surrendering his only run on a solo homer from Yoenis Cespedes with one out in the fourth.
Cespedes also scored the other run against Jimenez on a sacrifice fly in the sixth, with Cleveland’s starter leaving the bases loaded with two outs and the Indians up 4-2 for left-hander Nick Hagadone.
Hagadone struck out Josh Reddick to end the threat.
Jimenez got plenty of support from an Indians offense that has been surging as of late.
Back-to-back homers from Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera off Jarrod Parker in the opening inning set the tone. Cabrera and Mark Reynolds also hit solo homers off Parker in the fifth to make it 4-1.
Cleveland, which leads the majors with 44 homers, has gone deep multiple times in an inning 10 times this season after accomplishing the feat only nine times all of last year.
Of the homers, Reynolds, who clouted a 460-foot shot deep into the left-field bleachers, was the most attention-grabbing. It was his AL-leading 10th homer.
“He continues to take good swings,” Francona said of Reynolds, who is batting .300 with 27 RBIs in 28 games. “When he does that, he’s going to do things like that. He’s so strong and he’s got tremendous bat speed.”
Reynolds, who is hitting .333 (7-for-21) with three homers and seven RBIs on the homestand (six games), had extra incentive when he came to the plate in fifth. After Parker surrendered the consecutive homers in the first, he hit Reynolds in the back with a high-and-tight fastball two batters later.
Reynolds drew a walk from Parker in the third, but got even on the first pitch he saw from the right-hander in his next opportunity. After connecting, Reynolds dropped his bat and stared at Parker before starting his home-run jog.
“He hit me,” Reynolds said. “I normally don’t pimp anything, but he hit me — a little gamesmanship, just having some fun.
“The only good thing about (getting hit) was he hit me in my first at-bat and I was able to get him.”
The Indians beat Oakland for the first time at Progressive Field since August of 2011, with Jimenez recording his 1,000th strikeout along the way. Right fielder Ryan Raburn also recorded the 100th RBI of his career.
- WHO: Cleveland vs. Oakland
- TIME: 7:05
- WHERE: Progressive Field
- PITCHERS: McAllister (2-3, 3.30 ERA) vs. Milone (3-3, 3.69)
- TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM