Indians move into tie for 2nd wild card, beat Phillies 10-1
CLEVELAND — Rookie Oscar Mercado hit a three-run homer, Yaisel Puig drove a three-run double and the Cleveland Indians moved into a tie for the second AL wild card with a 10-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday night.
Carlos Carrasco made his longest relief appearance since his midseason cancer diagnosis, and the Indians matched the Tampa Bay Rays with six games to play. Both teams are 92-64 and two games behind Oakland, which leads the wild-card race.
The Phillies (79-75) are six games out in the NL wild-card chase with eight games left. They open a five-game series at Washington on Monday night. The Nationals and Brewers are tied for the top spot.
Carrasco (6-7) relieved starter Adam Plutko with two on in the fifth and got All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto to hit into an inning-ending double play. Carrasco, in his ninth appearance since leaving the club in June to treat leukemia, struck out three and allowed one hit in 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
Mercado’s 14th home run off Vince Velasquez (7-8) broke a 1-all tie in the fifth. The Indians put the game away with a six-run seventh, which included Puig’s double and a two-run homer by Franmil Reyes.
The Indians also received good news before their final home game of the season. Third baseman José Ramírez is expected to return Tuesday night in Chicago after missing a month with a broken right hand. He was injured Aug. 24 and had surgery two days later for a broken hamate bone.
Francisco Lindor and Mike Freeman also drove in runs for Cleveland, which has won six of seven.
Realmuto’s RBI double put Philadelphia ahead in the third.
The Indians took advantage of two errors that ignited the fifth-inning rally, which paid off with Mercado’s drive into the bleachers in left field on an 0-2 pitch from Velasquez.
Fielding errors by shortstop Jean Segura and Velasquez made all three runs unearned. Segura couldn’t come up with a barehand grab of leadoff hitter Greg Allen’s grounder. Velasquez fielded Roberto Pérez’s bunt with his barehand but dropped the ball, putting two runners on.
After a day off, Cleveland starts a three-game series against the White Sox and finishes with three games at Washington.
Phillies: RHP Juan Nicasio (tendinitis in right rotator cuff) threw batting practice Saturday and could return in the season’s final week. He hasn’t pitched since Aug. 23.
Indians: LHP Brad Hand played catch before the game. He struck out the side Saturday in his first appearance since Sept. 8 because of a fatigued arm.
Phillies: RHP Zach Eflin (9-12, 4.00 ERA) will start Monday against Washington LHP Patrick Corbin (13-7, 3.10 ERA).
Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger (12-3, 2.54 ERA) will face LHP Héctor Santiago (1-1, 5.65 ERA) when Cleveland plays the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.