Ramírez homers again, Indians sweep Rangers in doubleheader

Cleveland Indians' Francisco Lindor and Yasiel Puig celebrate the Indians 2-0 win over the Texas Rangers at the end of the first game of a doubleheader in Cleveland Wednesday.

 

CLEVELAND — José Ramírez homered again, Cleveland's bullpen combined on a four-hitter and the Indians beat the Texas Rangers 5-1 to sweep a doubleheader Wednesday and gear up for a big, four-game series in Minnesota.

Ramírez's two-run homer helped the Indians win the opener 2-0.

He connected in the second inning of the second game off Lance Lynn (14-7), Franmil Reyes hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh and Carlos Santana, Yasiel Puig and Jason Kipnis drove in runs in the eighth as the Indians improved to 39-16 since June 4 — baseball's best mark over two months.

Indians manager Terry Francona turned to his relievers in the second game and the reliable group came through with A.J. Cole (3-1) — Cleveland's third pitcher — getting the win by working 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Nick Wittgren got the final five outs for his third save.

The Indians head to Minnesota for a showdown starting Thursday with the first-place Twins, who have seen their 11 ½-game lead in the AL Central cut to two by the Indians. Minnesota lost 11-7 to Atlanta on Wednesday.

The Rangers managed only two runs in three games at Progressive Field. Texas won the opener 1-0, but then didn't score for 21 straight innings before Willie Calhoun homered leading off the eighth.

Making up for a sluggish start this season, Ramírez homered off Lynn, who entered 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in three career starts against Cleveland.

But the right-hander made one mistake in the second, grooving a 95 mph fastball on his first pitch to Ramírez, who turned and deposited it into the lower seats in right field.