CINCINNATI — Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona turned to Yandy Diaz in a big spot — and he delivered.
Diaz hit a tiebreaking RBI double in Cleveland’s seven-run sixth inning, helping the Indians pull away from the Cincinnati Reds for a 10-3 victory Monday night.
Jose Ramirez hit his 35th homer in Cleveland’s fifth win in six games. Ramirez, Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes had three hits apiece, and Melky Cabrera and Jason Kipnis each drove in two runs.
The game was tied at 2 when Francona had Diaz hit for Mike Clevinger (8-7) with a runner on and one out. Diaz responded with a run-scoring double off the wall in left, sparking a big inning for the Indians.
“He’s such an advanced hitter for a kid that doesn’t have a lot of major league at-bats,” Francona said. “That was a heck of an at-bat. You look at the score at the end of the game and that wasn’t how the majority of the game was played.”
The Indians increased their AL Central lead to 12 1⁄2 games over idle Minnesota.
Tucker Barnhart, Scooter Gennett and Curt Casali homered for last-place Cincinnati, which has dropped two in a row. Homer Bailey (1-10) was tagged for five runs and 10 hits in 5 1⁄3 innings.
“I thought Homer battled through a lot of adversity,” Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. “We made him throw a lot of extra pitches. It is too bad he got charged with some extra runs there. He threw the ball good.”
Barnhart hit his eighth homer in the second, putting Cincinnati in front and stopping the Reds’ four-game homerless streak.
Gennett tied it at 2 with his 18th homer off Clevinger in the fifth, but Cleveland grabbed control in the sixth. Diaz scored on Brantley’s double, Cabrera added a two-run single and Kipnis doubled in Ramirez and Brandon Guyer. Gomes tacked on an RBI double that made it 9-2.
Clevinger walked six in five innings, but got his first win since July 1. He allowed five hits and struck out four.
“The fastball is the one thing I did have, didn’t have a lick of anything else,” said Clevinger, who had lost four straight decisions. “I walked six guys and got my first dub in a month. That’s baseball being baseball.”
Ramirez drove Bailey’s 1-2 pitch into the Reds’ bullpen in right for a two-run homer in the third. The ball carried just inside the foul pole and just over right fielder Phillip Ervin’s glove.
“I had him swinging over the top of that pitch early in the at-bat,” Bailey said. “How he kept the ball fair, I don’t know. It’s a little short down the line but he’s having a great season. When you’re having a season like that those things happen.”
Rookie utilityman Brandon Dixon tossed a perfect ninth for the Reds in his first major league pitching appearance. Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen played right field in the ninth in his first major league defensive appearance at a position other than pitcher.
Dixon became the fourth position player to pitch for Cincinnati this year.
The Reds recalled left-hander Cody Reed from Triple-A Louisville and optioned right-hander Keury Mella to the minors. Reed posted a 2.70 ERA with 43 strikeouts in his last 36 2/3 innings. He made 17 starts in the minors but Riggleman said he’ll begin in the bullpen.
The Indians’ victory evened the season series with the Reds at 2 with two games remaining. The Reds have lost two of the past three season series against the Indians.
INDIANS: Right-handed pitcher Trevor Bauer could return to Cleveland today to have his sore right ankle examined by team doctors. Bauer was struck by a line drive Saturday but expects to make his scheduled start Friday.
REDS: Outfielder Scott Schebler played catch but there is no set timeframe for his return from a sprained right shoulder. He was returned from a rehab assignment last week after experiencing pain while throwing.
INDIANS: Corey Kluber (14-6) pitches tonight. He is 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA in three starts against the Reds, including a victory July 18.
REDS: Sal Romano (7-9) has faced the Indians once, allowing three earned runs over 7 1/3 innings on July 10 at Progressive Field.