Jose Ramirez hit a three-run home run in the first inning and Cody Allen protected a late lead by pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, helping the Cleveland Indians hold off the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 on Sunday afternoon in Cleveland.
Shohei Ohtani, the focal point of the Los Angeles offense while Mike Trout sits out with a wrist injury, capped a six-hit series with a single and a double for the Angels, who lost for the sixth time in their last seven games.
Angels starter Deck McGuire (0-2) couldn’t get out of the first inning.
After Francisco Lindor singled and Michael Brantley walked to open the game, Ramirez quickly made it 3-0 with his 33rd home run of the season.
McGuire then loaded the bases by hitting two guys and serving up a single to Yonder Alonso, prompting the Angels to call upon Taylor Cole just 25 pitches into the game.
The right-hander stranded all three inherited baserunners, and gave the Angels a chance to rally with 3 2/3 innings of one-hit relief.
Ohtani capped a two-run fifth inning with an RBI single. It scored Kole Calhoun, whose triple had plated Jose Briceno with the inning’s first run.
After Jason Kipnis increased the Indians’ advantage to 4-2 with an RBI double in the sixth, the Angels put the potential tying runs in scoring position in the seventh with one out, prompting Allen to enter a game earlier than the eighth inning for just the third time all season.
The strategy worked as Allen got Andrelton Simmons to pop out and David Fletcher to ground into a fielder’s choice, retaining the 4-2 lead.
Allen also pitched a scoreless eighth, after which Brad Hand came on for his third save in seven games for Cleveland in a shaky ninth.
Facing Ohtani as the potential tying run with one out, Hand got the hot-hitting rookie to ground out. But Simmons followed with an RBI single, scoring Justin Upton to get the Angels within 4-3.
Hand then struck out Fletcher to end it for his 27th save of the season — the first 24 coming for the San Diego Padres.
The Cleveland pitching staff allowed three runs or fewer for the eighth time in the last 10 games.
Indians starter Shane Bieber (6-2) was credited with the win after limiting the Angels to two runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
Ramirez’s three RBIs gave him 82 for the season for the Indians, who have won seven of their last 10.
Lindor had two hits, including a double.
Ohtani, Calhoun and Simmons collected two hits apiece for the Angels, who out-hit the Indians 11-7. Trout missed his fourth straight game.
Five members of the Los Angeles bullpen combined to work 7 2/3 innings, holding the Indians to a single run on four hits.