Diaz, in his second game since joining the team Sunday, made the most of it with a ringing double to the wall in left center field. The double not only broke a tie, but started a six-run rally as the Indians pounded the Reds, 10-3, at Great American Ball Park.
If you were sitting at home fretting over the status of the Ohio Cup, fret no more. The Indians pulled into a 2-2 tie with the Reds with Tuesday and Wednesday night's games deciding the winner of the traveling trophy.
The Indians entered the sixth with the score tied, 2-2. Mike Clevinger (8-7, 3.38) gave up a leadoff homer to Scooter Gennett in the fifth to erase a 2-1 lead. Clevinger, however, worked his way through the rest of the inning with no further damage and when the Indians responded with seven runs on six hits in the sixth, he won his first game since July 1.
OK, so wins may be overrated in certain instances. Especially since Clevinger pitched so much better in four of his previous six starts and had nothing by losses and no decisions to show for it.
Clevinger walked a season-high six batters and threw just 53 percent of pitches for strikes. But he did make some pitches when he needed, leaving the bases loaded in the third and fourth innings before the Tribe's offense locked in.
Greg Allen started the sixth-inning rally with a one out single. He stole second and waited for Diaz, pinch-hitting for Clevinger, to deliver. Diaz worked the count full against Homer Bailey (1-10, 6.33) before sending a double into the gap in left center for a 3-2 lead. In six games this season, Diaz is hitting .550 (11-for-20) with five RBI.
Diaz is keeping the DH spot warm for Edwin Encarnacion, who was placed on the disabled list Sunday with a bruised right hand and sore left biceps. He wasn't in the starting lineup because the game was played in a National League park and the DH is not recognized.
The Indians finished with 18 hits and three of them belonged to Jose Ramirez. Francona rested Ramirez on Sunday and it served the All-Star third baseman well. He finished with three hits, including a two-run homer in the third to put the Indians ahead, 2-1. It was Ramirez's 35th homer of the season and the second in his last two games.
Ramirez was intentionally walked in the sixth, but added an RBI single in the seventh.
Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley and Ramirez, the Tribe's top three hitters in the lineup, combined to go 8-for-14 with six runs and four RBI. Melky Cabrera and Jason Kipnis hit two-run doubles in the sixth.
Things got so distorted in the ninth that the Reds had utility man Brandon Dixon pitched and relievers Michael Lorenzo playing right field. It was that kind of night.
What it means
The Indians have scored seven or more runs in an inning this season five times. The are tied with Houston and the Cubs for the MLB lead.
Clevinger threw 101 pitches, 54 (53 percent) for strikes. Bailey threw 102 pitches, 69 (68 percent) for strikes.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and Reds drew 20,607 fans to Greats American Ball Park on Monday night. First pitch was at 7:10 p.m. with temperature of 85 degrees.
Right-hander Corey Kluber (14-6, 2.74) will face the Reds and right-hander Sal Romano (7-9, 4.94) at 7:10 p.m. on Tuesday. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR-FM 95.3 will carry the game.
Kluber, facing the Reds for the first time since 2015, is 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA in three starts against Cincinnati. He is 1-3 in interleague play this season and 13-7 with a 2.68 ERA in his career.
This will be Romano's second start against the Tribe this year. On July 10, he allowed three runs on five hits in 7 1/3 innings. The Reds won, 7-4, but Romano was not involved in the decision.