CLEVELAND — Less than 24 hours after news of a three-team trade electrified the fan base, the Indians added a power surge Wednesday night.
The Indians will soon be adding two power hitters to the lineup, but the current order had plenty of pop with four home runs — three of them of the three-run variety — en route to a 10-4 win over the Houston Astros at Progressive Field.
The Indians muscled their way through the Astros pitching staff one night after Justin Verlander kept them silent with 13 strikeouts and only two hits in seven innings. But Wednesday night against Astros starter Jose Urquidy was a different story.
Roberto Perez was first, blasting a three-run home run over the wall in center field to give the Indians a 3-1 lead in the second inning.
In the fifth, the Indians (63-44) for the second time found themselves trailing by a run, this time by a score of 4-3. And again, a three-run shot — this one by Carlos Santana, his 23rd of the season — put them back on top.
The Astros (69-40) turned to the bullpen in the sixth, but the Indians kept tacking on insurance runs. Perez, against Collin McHugh, belted a solo home run to right-center that pushed the Indians' lead to 7-4. It was Perez's 18th home run of the season and gave him his first career multi-home-run game in the regular season, joining a two-homer game in Game 1 of the 2016 World Series.
Jason Kipnis later added the finishing touch, crushing a no-doubt, three-run home run to right field that put the Indians on top 10-4. Kipnis, after watching it for a second, added a bat flip before running to first base after the blast, his ninth of the season.
Indians starting pitcher Zach Plesac (6-3) was roughed up a bit but was aided by the power surge. Plesac was hit for four earned runs on six hits and three walks to go with three strikeouts in five innings.
Reliever Nick Goody preserved the Indians' two-run lead (6-4) in the sixth with the biggest pitch of the game. The Astros loaded the bases for Jose Altuve to set up a prime opportunity to retake the lead, but Goody struck out Altuve with a slider far outside the zone to end the threat. Altuve tried to check his swing but couldn't, and Goody knew it before even seeing the official call as he celebrated walking off the mound.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.