Ramirez homers twice as Indians beat Twins 9-3 in doubleheader opener
MINNEAPOLIS — Jose Ramirez homered twice, doubled and drove in four runs as the Cleveland Indians pulled even with Minnesota atop the AL Central by beating the Twins 9-3 Saturday in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
Ramirez touched off a three-run first inning with a two-out homer off Adam Wilk (0-2). He chased the spot starter with a two-run double in the fourth and added another solo shot off Alex Wimmers in the sixth. It was the second multihomer game of Ramirez’s career, both this season.
Zach McAllister (1-0) pitched two hitless innings, striking out three. He worked in relief of starter Ryan Merritt, who made his season debut. McAllister, Bryan Shaw and Dan Otero combined for five scoreless innings in relief.
Officially added to the Indians’ roster in the morning, Merritt gave up two earned run and seven hits in four innings. His only earned runs came in the fourth when Ehire Adrianza’s two-run double scored Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton.
Wilk surrendered six runs off eight hits in 3 1-3 innings, while walking three. The journeyman lefty remains winless in five career major league starts, and has allowed six homers in 14 innings this season, including an outing for the New York Mets in May.
Wilk retired his first two batters with only five pitches, but it went downhill quickly after that.
Ramirez worked a full count before his first-inning homer, and Wilk allowed two walks and two singles to his next four batters. Bradley Zimmer had a two-run single in the inning and added an RBI double in the third.
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar (shoulder) remains on track to throw a bullpen session on Monday. He’s been on the DL since June 4. “If he comes through that, I think we’ll all feel better about stuff,” manager Terry Francona said. . 2B Jason Kipnis had two doubles and a single and scored a run despite his neck still being a bit sore. Francona said before the game that Kipnis might play both games, but that he for sure wanted him in Sunday’s lineup.
Both teams made moves to clear roster spots for Merritt and Wilk. The Indians optioned LHP Kyle Crockett and made pitcher Mike Clevinger their 26th man. The Twins, meanwhile, sent Ryan Pressly to the minors and made Wimmers their 26th man.
Pressly was recalled from Triple-A Rochester four days earlier and had thrown four innings in two appearances with one earned run. Manager Paul Molitor said he wouldn’t have been available for Saturday’s games after throwing Friday night. “How would you take the news after you’ve pitched a couple of good games?” Molitor said.
Indians: Mike Clevinger (2-3) makes his seventh start of the season in the nightcap. He’s 0-1 in three career starts against Minnesota, but is 2-1 on the road this season.
Twins: Adalberto Mejia (1-2) tries to rebound after allowing a career-high nine runs in 3 2-3 innings on Monday against Seattle.