CHICAGO (AP) — Jose Ramirez turned on a knee-high pitch and launched the Indians toward a lopsided victory.
Ramirez hit his 14th homer and Cleveland routed the Chicago Cubs 10-1 on Tuesday night in their first meeting at Wrigley Field since the 2016 World Series.
The AL Central leaders moved back to .500 with an easy victory against the team that beat them two years ago to end a 108-year championship drought.
Ramirez got Cleveland going with his three-run drive in the third. The Indians scored four times in the inning while chasing a wild Tyler Chatwood (3-4) and simply poured it on after that.
“He’s one of the better hitters in the game,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “You look at him (5-foot-9, 165 pounds) and I don’t know if you necessarily think you see a guy who can drive the ball out of the ballpark like that. And now as he’s accumulating some experience, he knows the pitchers, he knows how they’re attacking him. It makes him even better.”
Trevor Bauer (4-3) went six innings in his second straight scoreless start. The right-hander gave up seven hits and struck out six while walking two after shutting down Detroit over eight innings in a win last week.
Yonder Alonso had three of Cleveland’s 11 hits, including a three-run double in the fifth to make it 10-0.
Michael Brantley extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a pair of singles and scored two runs. Francisco Lindor added two hits and two runs, and the Indians started the two-game series on a winning note after the teams split two games in Cleveland last month.
Chatwood walked six while allowing four runs and four hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Chicago manager Joe Maddon said Chatwood has a “busy delivery” that the Cubs need to “harness.”
“If you watch his delivery closely, there’s a lot going on,” Maddon said. “That tends to lead to lack of command of the fastball, and he’s not the only guy. There are other pitchers that are like that, too.”
Three of Chatwood’s walks came in the third, bringing his major league-leading total to 40, and the crowd of 37,168 let him hear it.
Ramirez delivered the big blow with his three-run shot to the right-field basket. Roberto Perez added a sacrifice fly, and the Indians sent nine batters to the plate in the inning.
Maddon lifted Chatwood with runners on first and third after he threw four balls to Greg Allen. Mike Montgomery struck out Bauer to end the rally, but got tagged for six runs in 2 1/3 innings.
Chicago was 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base. The Cubs didn’t score until Ian Happ led off the ninth with a pinch-hit homer against Josh Tomlin.
NO 9/11 CONNECTION
Bauer lashed out at posters on Twitter for linking a message he inscribed in the dirt behind the mound — “BD 911” — to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Bauer said it was “completely unrelated.” He said it was a “personal thing” involving a “close friend” and their training together.
“For people to take it a step further is just ridiculous,” Bauer added. “It’s a tragic day in our country’s history and it’s just senseless and that’s all there is to it. Shame on the people saying that. It’s completely unrelated.”
Indians: Francona said “all reports are good” on OF Lonnie Chisenhall (strained right calf) after he had two hits for Triple-A Columbus on Monday. Chisenhall has been sidelined since April 7. … Francona said OF Bradley Zimmer (bruised left rib) could be ready to play by the weekend, whether he returns from the disabled list or goes on a rehab assignment.
Indians: The team plans to recall RHP Adam Plutko (1-0, 3.68 ERA) from Triple-A Columbus to start Wednesday, with the struggling Tomlin moved to the bullpen. Plutko picked up his first major league win about three weeks ago, pitching into the eighth inning against Toronto as the 26th man for a doubleheader.
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (4-1, 2.52) looks to win his third straight start. The four-time All-Star allowed a combined two runs over 11 2/3 innings while beating the crosstown White Sox and Cincinnati Reds.