CLEVELAND: Jose Ramirez’s mom, Xiomara, added two items to his to-do list when the two spoke on the phone prior to Sunday’s game against the Houston Astros.

It was Mother’s Day in the Dominican Republic, after all, and it was the least he could do.

“She said to me this morning, ‘My son, hit a home run for me and win the game,’ ” Ramirez said through a team translator.

He delivered on her first request on the first pitch he saw, drilling it for a two-run home run in the first inning. But as he stepped to the plate in the ninth, it was looking like he might fall short on the latter, the Indians trailing 8-3 after another disastrous day for the bullpen.

Ramirez worked the count and battled Astros reliever Ken Giles. For 17 pitches, he refused to go down, and eventually ripped a double off the right-field wall. It was still, in that moment, far too little, the Indians needing a furious rally to answer the Astros’ six-run eighth. But it was enough to ignite one of the better rallies in recent memory at Progressive Field.

“There are so many things that go into that, but without that, that was an incredible at-bat,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It changed the whole inning because they ended up having to go to the bullpen just because of the pitch count. There was a lot of things that happened that were incredible, or we don’t win.”

Ramirez has been delivering for the Indians as much as he has for his mom.

There are three position players in baseball who have amassed at least 3.0 WAR this season entering Monday’s games. One is Mike Trout, the best player on the planet. One is Mookie Betts, who has been seemingly unconscious at the plate.

And the third is Ramirez, who right now would likely be an MVP finalist yet again as he’s continued to establish himself as one of the best hitters in all of baseball. And, because of the somewhat aggressive, long-term deal he signed with the Indians, he remains one of the better bargains in the league.

Ramirez is third in baseball in WAR (3.6), 6th in wRC+, fifth in wOBA (.418) and sixth in OPS (.995) and on and on. He just keeps hitting, and nearly every day.

“Would you have guessed this since his first couple months in the big leagues?” Trevor Bauer said of Ramirez. “He doesn’t strike out, he hits homers, he hits for average, he hits doubles, he runs, he steals, plays great defense. The guy’s a great baseball player. It’s fun to watch. I hope I get to face him one day so I can punch him out. I joke with him a lot of times about that.”

In honor of fallen

Francona has been wearing a bracelet recently with a special meaning in honor of Memorial Day weekend.

Francona’s son, Nick, who served with the Marines in Afghanistan, made five bracelets in honor of a different member of the United States military who died in the line of duty, all with a different connection to someone in the organization.

Francona’s bracelet is in memory of Christopher Moon, a former baseball star from the Tucson, Ariz., area who walked away from an athletic scholarship to join the Army. Moon died in 2010 at the age of 20 from injuries he sustained after stepping on a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

Francona and the others, like bench coach Brad Mills and pitcher Josh Tomlin, wore their bracelets this weekend and will take a picture and send it to the respective families.

“I’m obviously really proud of my son, not just for serving, but for caring enough to do this, because it had to take him a lot of time,” Francona said. “It was so organized and he kind of put it on a platter for us. ... I called my family and I just said, ‘Are you OK if I do this?’ And they were like, ‘Yeah, it’s one of the nicest, one of the best things is to get it out there.’ ”

Bieber to make debut

The Indians will promote prospect Shane Bieber to make a spot start in Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Twins, meaning he’ll be making his major-league debut on his 23rd birthday.

Bieber has been nearly unhittable in the minors this season, posting a 1.16 ERA with the RubberDucks in 13 innings and a 1.05 ERA in 34⅓ innings in Triple-A Columbus. The Indians want to give Bauer an extra day of rest after he threw 127 pitches in Sunday’s 10-9 win over the Houston Astros.

“It’ll be good for him. I think it’ll be good for us,” Francona said of Bieber. “Kind of just get a chance to watch him pitch a major-league game. Hopefully he helps us win. But it’ll be just great experience for him.”

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ.