CLEVELAND (AP) — Determined to put an embarrassing night of unwelcome history behind them, the Indians came out swinging Saturday night.
They hit back, and they hit hard.
César Hernández connected for a three-run triple, José Ramírez had two RBIs and Aaron Civale pitched seven strong innings to stay unbeaten as Cleveland rebounded after being no-hit for the second time in 24 days by belting the Cincinnati Reds 9-2.
The Indians became the 18th team to be no-hit twice in the same season on Friday, when Cincinnati’s Wade Miley shut them down for the majors’ fourth no-no in 2021.
There was no more dubious history as the Indians scored in the first on Eddie Rosario’s RBI double and added five more runs in four innings off starter Luis Castillo (1-4), who was hurt by the Reds making two errors.
“I mean it just set the tone,” Civale said of the Indians’ early outburst. “It told everyone in the dugout that we put yesterday behind us. That’s what it’s all about: Putting the lows behind and riding those highs. So, I think it was a huge job for us and confidence-wise, it’s awesome.”
Civale (5-0) allowed one run and five hits. The right-hander improved to 11-0 when he’s supported by at least three runs.
Indians manager Terry Francona was anxious to see if his team would bounce back after being no-hit for the second time in less than a month. The Indians are only the second team since 1900 to be no-hit twice in its first 31 games.
“I expect that we will,” Francona said before the game.
The Indians did just that, collecting 11 hits with one of their most lopsided wins this season. Cleveland has won 10 of 13 overall and improved to 17-1 when scoring at least four runs.
“I thought our first four hits were the opposite way, which I thought was a really good sign,” Francona said. “You start getting traffic and you have holes open and things start to happen. But I thought we had a really good approach, especially early on.”
The only other team to be no-hit twice so quickly in the modern era is the 1917 Chicago White Sox, who had it happen it to them on consecutive days. They went on to win the World Series.
Civale said the ’21 Indians have shown a resolve not to let anything stop them.
“That’s all what the Indians have been for many years is going at each day as its own and attacking each day like nothing happened the day before,” he said. “I think the way we have the ability to do that is special. That’s not always the case.”
Tyler Naquin, who dropped a routine fly for one of Cincinnati’s errors, homered in the ninth.
Hernández’s bases-clearing triple capped a four-run fourth and gave the Indians a 6-1 lead.
Castillo gave up consecutive singles to open the inning before Austin Hedges’ RBI single put Cleveland ahead 3-1. Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer then dropped a throw on a potential force out and double play to load the bases.
Hernández fell behind 0-2 in the count before pulling a Castillo changeup into the right-field corner. The right-hander lamented that too many of his pitches are hovering in the strike zone and he’s not getting enough ground-ball outs.
Castillo hasn’t won since April 7.
“I think we’re close and I think we know what’s going wrong,” Castillo said, “and I think we can fix it, too.”
Reds manager David Bell was still glowing in the aftermath of Miley’s gem, the Reds’ 17th no-hitter. Bell reiterated he’s never seen players “so genuinely happy” for a teammate.
It was the second no-hitter Bell has been involved in. He played second for Philadelphia in 2003, when Kevin Millwood threw one for the Phillies.
“It was even different than a playoff game, the anxiety,” Bell said. “You really have to convince yourself you want the ball hit to you.”
NO-NO KNOW HOW
The rash of early no-hitters has spawned theories as to why they’re happening so frequently, and what’s led to an offensive decline.
Better pitching? Too many hitters trying to hit homers?
“I don’t know if I have a great idea,” Francona said. “Offense as a whole is down. The approach to hitting has changed so much that you don’t see guys shortening up with two strikes, maybe hitting the ball the other way, so there’s more strikeouts. There’s shifting and guys aren’t taking advantage of it, so you’re gonna see less offense.”
Indians: C Roberto Pérez is expected to be back in Cleveland on Sunday after undergoing surgery on his fractured right ring finger. He had three pins inserted to stabilize the break. Pérez will need at least two months to recover.
Reds RHP Tyler Mahle (1-1) starts the series finale against LHP Sam Hentges (1-0), who makes his first career start.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports