Asdrubal Cabrera went 5-for-5 with two homers and five RBI, Michael Brantley added three hits and two ribbies, and Shin-Soo Choo drove in a pair as the Indians finished off a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds in the first round of the 2011 Battle of Ohio with a 12-4 win at Progressive Field that saw the Tribe improve to 29-15 and maintain a seven-game lead in the American League Central.
Carlos Carrasco (3-2, 5.16 ERA) hung around long enough to get the victory, going six innings and surrendering all four runs — including home runs from Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. Carrasco struck out three and walked only one while allowing six hits in winning his second straight.
Chad Durbin came on with a man at second and nobody out in the seventh and worked around an error to shut the door and keep the lead at 8-4, before Cleveland put it away with a four-run seventh.
Rafael Perez worked a scoreless eighth, and Josh Judy made his major league debut in the ninth, giving up a single and a double but keeping the Reds off the board.
After Votto gave Cincinnati the lead with his blast to the bleachers in the first, Asdrubal connected off of losing pitcher Edinson Volquez (3-2, 6.35 ERA) with Brantley aboard to put the Tribe ahead.
Choo then doubled, and after Carlos Santana was retired for the first out, but moved Choo to third, Travis Buck walked, and then things got interesting.
Buck broke for second with Orlando Cabrera batting, then put on the brakes as Choo bluffed for home, drawing a throw to the plate. As Choo headed back to third, Reds’ catcher Ramon Hernandez uncorked a throw into left field that hugged the line all the way to the wall, allowing both Choo and Buck to score and giving the Indians a 4-1 lead.
Choo drove in Brantley with a single in the second to make it 5-1, though it could have been more, as the Indians failed to further add to their lead with runners at first and third and none out.
But the Tribe came through in the third when Brantley hit a sacrifice fly to score Austin Kearns, who had reached on a hit by pitch. Then Asdrubal Cabrera singled to score Jack Hannahan, who had walked, and Cleveland was up 7-1 and Volquez’s day was done.
Volquez allowed seven runs — six earned — in only 2.2 innings, with seven hits, four walks, and the hit-batsman.
The Reds got a run back in the fourth on Bruce’s homer, then added two in the sixth to get to within 7-4. In that sixth, Joey Votto doubled in his second run of the game, and a Brandon Phillips ground out cut the Indians’ lead to three.
Asdrubal Cabrera hit his second homer in the bottom of the sixth off of Sam LeCure to make the lead 8-4, and then in the bottom of the seventh, with one out, Kearns tripled off of new reliever Jordan Smith and scored on Hannahan’s double to make it 9-4. Lou Marson walked and Brantley doubled, scoring Hannahan and moving Marson to third. Asdrubal drove in his fifth run of the afternoon with a single, and the final run of the inning — and the game — scored when Choo hit a sac fly.
The Indians now welcome the Boston Red Sox to town for a three-game set beginning Monday night at 7:05, as the Tribe looks to move to 19-4 at home.