CLEVELAND — After scoring 21 runs the past two games, all the Indians needed Thursday night was three big swings of the bat.
Shin-Soo Choo, Michael Brantley and Travis Hafner all belted solo home runs to lead the Indians to a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Choo’s homer, his ninth of the season, came in the Tribe’s first at-bat in the bottom of the first. Brantley hit his second home run in as many days, and third of the year, in the next inning. Hafner’s seventh long ball of the season gave the Indians an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth.
Josh Tomlin pitched seven strong innings for the Indians, giving up just three hits and one earned run, to earn his fifth win of the season.
Chris Perez slammed the door in the ninth to earn his 24th save of the year.
The victory moves the Indians record to 43-39. They remain 2.5 games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox.
The Indians will host the Rays Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Justin Masterson will be on the mound for the Tribe.