- Associated Press - Sunday, August 9, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cleveland Indians haven’t had much to smile about lately. Their 17-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night gave them that opportunity.

“Today was a real good, fun productive day for us,” manager Terry Francona said. “It’s one game, but it’s a heck of a lot better than losing.”

Recent trades of veterans David Murphy, Brandon Moss, Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher have left the Indians looking elsewhere for production.

Jerry Sands hit a pinch-hit grand slam and Abraham Almonte, called up from the minors before the game, was 4 for 5 with a two-run homer as the Indians recorded season-highs in runs and hits (19).

Sands, batting for Lonnie Chisenhall in the fifth, homered to right off Blaine Boyer. Three consecutive walks by Ryan O’Rourke loaded the bases before Sands broke an 0-for-11 slump with his second career grand slam.

“It was good to come off the bench and help the team,” Sands said. “The last week or so isn’t exactly what I’d like to do.”

Almonte, acquired from San Diego for pitcher Marc Rzepczynski on July 31, was called up from Triple-A Columbus and started in center field. He doubled in each of his first two at-bats then singled in the sixth and homered in the eighth.

“I know one game doesn’t define somebody’s career but at the same time we’re looking for reasons to be excited about guys,” Francona said. “If you can’t get excited about that. …”

Almonte was told Friday night he was being called up and made the 2½-hour drive to Cleveland. According to STATS in research dating to 1914, Almonte is the only player in team history to have four hits and three extra base hits in his Indians debut.

“It feels good,” he said. “When you do that it’s really exciting.”

Trevor Bauer (9-8) won for the first time since July 8, allowing four runs in 6 1-3 innings. He gave up solo homers to Joe Mauer and Eddie Rosario and a two-run homer to Kurt Suzuki.

Twins manager Paul Molitor, who had already gone through six pitchers, used outfielder Shane Robinson to finish the eighth. Robinson walked Mike Aviles with the bases loaded, but retired the next three hitters.

“It’s been a tough trip for us,” Molitor said. “I tried to go as long as I could without going to a position player, but I had to get Robinson in just to get us off the field.”

Jose Ramirez, replacing the injured Jason Kipnis at second base, was 3 for 5 with a career-high three RBIs for the Indians.

Angels starter Ervin Santana (2-3) allowed eight runs in 2 1-3 innings.

A fire in a building behind the ballpark’s garage broke out about 45 minutes before the game started, sending clouds of black smoke billowing into the sky. The fire was under control about 30 minutes later and the game began on time.

Santana fell to 1-7 in 10 career starts at Progressive Field with the only win a no-hitter while pitching for the Angels on July 27, 2011.


Chris Johnson, acquired from Atlanta on Friday for Bourn and Swisher, flied out as a pinch-hitter for the Indians in the eighth.

“I can play three different positions, so I feel like I can be versatile,” Johnson said. “I feel like I can hit a little bit. I enjoy being in the batter’s box so I’m not too worried where it’s at. Hopefully I can help out any way I can.”


Twins: OF Byron Buxton (left thumb sprain) was 3 for 5 in the first game of his minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester on Friday.

Indians: RHP Cody Anderson was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained left oblique. The rookie was 2-1 with a 0.89 ERA in his first four career starts, but went 0-2 with a 10.19 ERA in his last four.


Twins: RHP Phil Hughes has surrendered an AL-high 27 homers in 22 starts. He leads the league in hits allowed with 163 and issues the fewest walks per nine innings at 0.9.

Indians: RHP Corey Kluber seeks his third straight win over Minnesota. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner is 4-2 in 11 career appearances against the Twins.

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