Mike Clevinger threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings and was supported by three home runs in the Cleveland Indians’ 6-0 road win over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.
Cleveland’s Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso and Tyler Naquin all connected off right-hander JC Ramirez (0-1) to spoil the Angels’ home opener.
And while Alonso and Naquin hit home runs the traditional way — over the fence — Encarnacion did it the hard way, circling the bases at full speed for an inside-the-park homer.
It was the designated hitter’s third homer of the season and No. 351 of his career, but just his second inside-the-park round-tripper. The first one came on Aug. 31, 2007, while Encarnacion was a member of the Cincinnati Reds.
Encarnacion, 35 and not the fleetest of foot, hit Ramirez’s pitch into the left field corner, where Angels left fielder Justin Upton gave chase. The ball hit the yellow line on the upper part of the short fence and ricocheted back toward center field.
Upton, though, did not give chase immediately, apparently unaware the ball was still in play. By the time he ran it down and threw the ball in, Encarnacion rounded third and headed home for a 1-0 lead.
That was enough for Clevinger, who was drafted by the Angels in 2011 and spent 3 1/2 years in their minor league system. In 2014, the Angels were in a playoff race when they sent then-minor-leaguer Clevinger to the Indians for journeyman reliever Vinnie Pestano, who last appeared in the majors in 2015 season.
Clevinger (1-0) gave up four hits, walked two and struck out five against an Angels offense that averaged 5.5 runs in the season’s first four games.
Ramirez lasted just 4 2/3 innings and gave up five runs (four earned) on five hits and two walks. In the third inning, his defense let him down after Bradley Zimmer’s one-out infield single.
Zimmer stole second, then went to third on a passed ball by reigning Gold Glove catcher Martin Maldonado. Maldonado then compounded the problem when his throw to third was bad, skipping into left field for an error and allowing Zimmer to score for a 2-0 lead.
The Indians scored the easy way in the fourth, getting a solo homer from Alonso and a two-run homer from Naquin to take a comfortable 5-0 lead. Brandon Guyer added an RBI double in the eighth.
Four Cleveland relievers combined to shut out the Angels for the final 3 2/3 innings.
—Field Level Media