Cleveland-- The Indians topped the Houston Astros 7-6 on Wednesday night, and they have the top of their order to thank.
Carlos Santana went 2-4 in the lead off spot, driving in the winning runs in the sixth inning on a double down the right field line that plated Jason Kipnis and Abraham Almonte.
In four plate appearances, Francisco Lindor was walked and recorded a double. He would go on to score a run in both the first and fifth innings.
But perhaps most impressive, was Michael Brantley. In his four at-bats, Brantley recorded two hits and three RBIs.
It was the most RBIs for Brantley since May 5, 2016, when he recorded three against the Tigers in the Tribe’s 9-4 win.
Addressing the media after the game, Brantley was asked if he felt like his swing was getting back to where it was prior to his shoulder surgery.
“It’s getting there. I’m always working. It’s a work in progress, I trust the process, that it’s gonna get better I hope,” Brantley said.
“But I’m excited just to be out there with my teammates and help them. “
Brantley is currently batting .318 for Cleveland. It’s safe to say that the Indians are happy with how well Brantley is progressing this season, and expect him to improve even further.
“We were talking about it before the game. Getting him back in name is one thing, but getting him back as the player he was, that’s pretty impressive on his part,” Indians manager Terry Francona said after the win.
“I think the more repetition he gets, you’re starting to see him get some timing and that’s good.”
Astros manager A.J. Hinch also acknowledged the trouble Brantley causes for his bullpen and defense.
“After missing a year, it’s literally like getting a middle of the order bat to sign as a free agent. It’s a new player for them,” Hinch said.
The Tribe continues with their series against the Astros tomorrow at Progressive Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m.
-Bauer is now 6-0 against the Houston Astros for his career, and is only the second pitcher in league history to win his first six starts against Houston. On Wednesday he pitched six innings, giving up six hits, four earned runs, and two homers while striking out eight. After the game, though, he seemed unimpressed. When asked about his streak against Houston, Bauer responded, “Random variation … It won’t continue. At some point it will break.”
-Kipnis also is getting back into the swing of things (pun intended). He went 2-4 at the plate, recording two singles and striking out twice. It was his best stat line in just his fifth game back this season. Before tonight, his only hit came against the White Sox last Saturday.