PHILADELPHIA — In a long season, a baseball team can draw inspiration from the oddest things. Such as watching an American League pitcher swing the bat in an interleague game in a National League park.
Starting pitcher Corey Kluber lined out to left center Wednesday afternoon in the second inning after an impressive at-bat against Cole Hamels. Thus inspired, the Indians who get paid to hit rolled over the Phillies, 10-4, at U.S. Citizens Park to win for the eighth time in their last 11 games.
Dating back to Monday's doubleheader, the Indians had scored three runs in 26 innings. Wednesday in Philadelphia, they scored 10 runs on 11 hits, including homers by Mike Aviles, Nick Swisher, and Jason Kipnis. Until then, they'd hit exactly one homer in six games.
"It woke us up after Corey Kluber had the best at-bat through the first few innings," said Kipnis who was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a homer.
"He set the pace."
Kluber, who said he hadn't hit in a game since 2010 when he was in the minors with San Diego, worked the count full before lining out.
"When it left the bat, I said, ‘Oh’ " Kluber said. "But then it died and I said, ‘That's all I've got.’ "
Kluber went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run. He also didn't do too bad a job pitching, holding the Phillies to two runs on six hits in six innings. Kluber (3-2, 5.40) struck out five and didn't walk a batter in breaking a personal two-start losing streak.
"We were stunned," said manager Terry Francona of Kluber's second-inning at-bat. "As he got into the at-bat, he looked like a good hitter. Most pitchers tell you they're good hitters. Corey is so quiet he doesn't say anything, but he had some pretty good at bats."
The Tribe's offense struck in ambush fashion in the third. After Kipnis doubled and Asdrubal Cabrera walked, Hamels (1-6, 4.61) struck out Swisher for the second out. Mark Reynolds stepped to the plate and made a lunging swing at Hamels' first pitch and hyper-extended his left elbow.
"That what happens when you swing as hard as you can at a change-up and miss," said Reynolds, his elbow wrapped in ice.
Francona and trainer Lonnie Soloff checked on Reynolds, but he stayed in the game and lined a double off the left-field wall on Hamels' next pitch for a 2-0 lead.
Reynolds, hitting .271 with 11 homers and 34 RBI, said he has hyper-extended the elbow before.
"I'll be able to play Friday," he said.