CLEVELAND — It’s been feast or famine for Indians hitters lately. Tuesday night at Progressive Field, nearly all of them went home with full bellies.
In an offensive display rarely seen in franchise history, the Indians clouted seven home runs to power a 14-2 victory over Roy Halladay and the Phillies in their first interleague game of the season.
Cleveland banged out 17 hits and came within one of matching the club record for homers in a game, which was accomplished twice (1997, 2004). The run and hit totals rank second this season behind a 19-6 victory (22 hits) at Houston on April 20, with every starter collecting at least one hit — five of them enjoying multihit games.
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“We had a really good approach tonight,” said manager Terry Francona, whose team not only has three straight wins but also knocked the Royals out of first place Monday. “I think we did a really good job of extending innings and then doing damage in those innings.”
Most of the onslaught came against Halladay, a two-time Cy Young winner who appeared to have turned the corner after a disappointing start to the season.
The right-hander had worked three straight quality outings before allowing eight runs on nine hits (three homers) over just 3⅔ innings.
“We stayed on him and got the barrel through a lot of balls,” Francona said after the Indians became the first team to ever hit two first-inning homers off Halladay. Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds turned the trick with a pair of two-run shots.
A two-run homer from Lonnie Chisenhall, followed by a two-run single from Asdrubal Cabrera chased Halladay with the Indians in front 8-1 in the fourth.
Halladay was gone but the homers kept coming for Cleveland, which got two more two-run shots in the fifth from Ryan Raburn and Michael Brantley.
Raburn went deep again in the seventh, giving him four homers over his last two games — a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by an Indians player since Travis Hafner in 2004.
“Mine usually come in bunches,” Raburn said. “I’m just trying to have good quality at-bats, and fortunately things have been going pretty good.
“We wish we could do this every night. Sometimes you’re going to have nights like these.”
Raburn, a bench player that has gotten more playing time with an injury to center fielder Michael Bourn, is 11-for-25 with four homers and eight RBIs over his last six games.
“This has been a great five days for him,” Francona said. “Not only has he helped us win games, he’s got to feel good about himself.”
Right-hander Zach McAllister was the beneficiary of the bushel full of support, winning for the just the second time in five starts after allowing two runs on five hits over seven innings.
“He was very good,” Francona said. “I thought he established that he could get his breaking ball over for a strike, and you have to respect his fastball, because he pitches so well off it.”
McAllister allowed just one hit — a solo home run to Delmon Young in the second — over the first five innings, and just three baserunners. He allowed another solo shot to Chase Utley with two outs in the sixth.
“It’s probably one of the best mixes I’ve had all season,” said McAllister, who struck out four and walked just one.
The Indians had plenty of time for light moments in this blowout, with one coming in the eighth inning. In an effort to leg out an infield single, 42-year-old veteran Jason Giambi, who has struggled to start the season, slid headfirst into first base to beat the throw.
It was an awkward dive for the big man, but it worked.
“I felt like Mr. Potato Head. My parts were going everywhere,” Giambi joked.
Francona laughed when asked about the play, but then got serious to praise one of his favorite players.
“If you’re a young player and you see something like that, you should be ashamed if you don’t run out a ball, anybody in baseball,” Francona said. “That’s a guy that cares.”
- WHO: Cleveland vs. Philadelphia
- TIME: 7:05
- WHERE: Progressive Field
- PITCHERS: Bauer (0-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. Lee (2-1, 3.03)
- TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.