BY JAY COHEN
CHICAGO (AP) — Jose Ramirez stole pitcher Danny Salazar’s bat a couple of weeks ago. It’s the same weight as his usual lumber, but he likes the handle.
It definitely belongs to him now.
Ramirez hit two more homers, Austin Jackson also connected and the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 9-4 on Tuesday night for their 13th straight victory, the longest run by a major league team this season.
“We’re content, we’re happy, we’re very united — which is the most important,” Ramirez said through a translator.
Salazar felt healthy in his return from right elbow inflammation, but struggled with his command and got just two outs. Cleveland’s deep bullpen took over from there, with seven relievers combining for 8 1/3 scoreless innings.
Next up is a chance to match the franchise record of 14 straight wins accomplished last season.
“Yeah, we’re excited. I mean, it’s a good clubhouse,” said Yan Gomes, who put the game away with a three-run homer in the ninth. “But we’re the same every day. We know the job that needs to be done. From our pitching staff to our offense, we just keep going.”
Jackson and Ramirez hit back-to-back homers during Cleveland’s three-run first against David Holmberg (2-4). Ramirez added another solo shot in the second, and the AL Central leaders went ahead to stay on Greg Allen’s tiebreaking two-run double in the third.
Ramirez has five homers in his last three games. He is batting .500 (17 for 34) with seven homers and nine RBIs on Cleveland’s 11-game road trip.
“It’s been fun to watch,” manager Terry Francona said.
Matt Davidson hit a three-run drive for last-place Chicago, which has dropped six of eight. Top prospect Yoan Moncada went 1 for 5 in his return from a bruised right shin.
Davidson’s 24th homer chased Salazar and gave the White Sox a 4-3 lead in the first. It was the first time the Indians had trailed since they were down by one against the New York Yankees on Aug. 28.
“With the Indians, they’re a first-place team,” Davidson said. “We know they’re going to swing it, so no lead was really safe. But we wanted to continue to tack on runs and sometimes everything doesn’t click for us. It’s just kind of one of those nights.”
Cleveland responded with Ramirez’s 25th of the season and then Allen’s first career extra-base hit and RBIs in the third. With two outs and runners on first and second, Allen hit a liner into the corner in left to give the Indians a 6-4 lead.
Dan Otero (3-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. The White Sox put two on in the eighth, but Bryan Shaw struck out Yolmer Sanchez to end the inning.
NOT BAD AT ALL
Indians first baseman Carlos Santana went 2 for 3 and scored a run. He is batting .364 (28 for 77) in his last 21 games.
Santana was shaken up after he was hit on the right leg by a pitch from Carson Fulmer in the seventh, but stayed in the game.
Indians: OF Jay Bruce (sore neck) was held out for the fourth straight game. With the White Sox sending a lefty to the mound, Francona decided to give Bruce another day. … LHP Andrew Miller (right knee patellar tendinitis) threw a side session Monday in Cleveland and is scheduled for another one on Wednesday. … 2B Jason Kipnis (right hamstring strain) worked out with the team before the game.
White Sox: RHP James Shields got in a full workout and expects to make his next scheduled start after he was hit on the right knee by a line drive in the seventh inning of Chicago’s 5-3 loss in the series opener. … OF/INF Nicky Delmonico (sprained right wrist) was slated to take batting practice with the team. If he responds well, he could be activated in the next day or two.
Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco (13-6, 3.67 ERA) and White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (0-2, 6.06 ERA) square off when the four-game series resumes Wednesday night. Carrasco is 9-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 15 road starts this year. Lopez pitched six innings of three-run ball in a 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Friday, his first start since Aug. 17 after being sidelined by a strained back.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
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