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Indians 19, Astros 6

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- With seven members of the starting lineup recording multi-hit games, the Cleveland Indians snapped their five-game losing skid by bashing the Houston Astros 19-6 Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.

Michael Brantley (2-for-6, three RBI), Nick Swisher (4-for-7, two RBI), Jason Giambi (2-for-4, five RBI), Carlos Santana (2-for-5, two RBI) and Mark Reynolds (2-for-4, four RBI) had multi-RBI games as the Indians (6-10) totaled 22 hits and hit 11-for-22 with runners in scoring position.

Despite holding Cleveland scoreless over the final four innings, the 19 runs matched the most allowed by the Astros (5-12) in a home game.

The Indians had scored just 11 total runs during their five-game skid, and their offense ranked 12th in batting average (.230), 13th in runs scored (56) and dead last in the American League in RBI (53). Their performance on Friday night reflected their hitting woes, as Cleveland stranded nine runners and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Astros right-hander Philip Humber (0-4) provided the tonic for what ailed the Indians. Cleveland chased him with an onslaught of extra-base hits in the first inning. Humber recorded just one out by the time leadoff hitter Michael Brantley ended his night with a two-run double to center field in his second at-bat to score Lonnie Chisenhall and Drew Stubbs.

Brantley was the ninth consecutive batter to reach against Humber, following run-scoring doubles from Swisher and Giambi and a three-run home run to left field from Reynolds. Humber had little life on his four-seam fastball, evidenced by the manner in which Swisher, Giambi and Brantley pulverized it to register run-scoring hits.

After scoring eight runs in the first inning off Humber, Cleveland scored six more in the second on left-hander Dallas Keuchel. The Indians greeted another Astros left-hander, Travis Blackley, with a three-run fourth inning, all courtesy of Giambi and his 431st career home run.

Houston pitchers waited until the sixth to post their first scoreless frame, with right-handers Rhiner Cruz and Paul Clemens combining for that modest feat. By that juncture, Cleveland held a bloated 19-6 lead.

Indians left-hander Scott Kazmir, making his first major-league start since April 3, 2011, did not take full advantage of that run support. Having opened the season on the disabled list with a right rib cage strain, Kazmir allowed home runs to Brandon Barnes in the second and Brandon Laird in the third before departing with one out in the fourth.

The homers by Barnes and Laird represented the first for both in 2013.

NOTES: Indians right-hander Brett Myers will return to Cleveland on Sunday to undergo an MRI on his right forearm. Myers attributed a sudden drop in velocity during his start Friday night to a flexor tendon issue that dates back to spring training. ... The Astros placed outfielder J.D. Martinez on the 15-day disabled list with a right knee sprain suffered during his second at-bat Friday night. Houston activated outfielder Fernando Martinez from the DL. Fernando Martinez was placed on the DL with a strained left oblique on March 27 and completed a five-game rehab stint batting .111 for Class AAA Oklahoma City. The Astros also reinstated left-hander Blackley (shoulder strain) from the DL. ... To make room for Kazmir, who made his Indians debut, Cleveland optioned infielder Cord Phelps to Class AAA Columbus. ... Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera departed in the first inning with a left wrist contusion. In his lone at-bat, Cabrera singled and scored.
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