CLEVELAND — There’s been no stopping the Indians’ offense as of late. Containing it has been no easy task, either.
There will be no argument from the Angels, who after shutting out Cleveland in the series opener, got an unsavory taste of one of the American’s League’s hottest-hitting clubs over the next two games.
The Indians scored 21 times to take the series from Los Angeles, blasting their way to a 12-3 victory Wednesday in the rubber match at Progressive Field.
The run total was one shy of a season high for Cleveland, which has scored 61 runs over its last nine games, while batting .325 as a team over the span.
“This is as good as it gets,” Acta said of his offense, which has been at the forefront of five wins over the last seven games. “You’re not going to score this many runs every day. Things tend to even out. That’s what the game is all about.”
The Indians celebrated the return of designated hitter Travis Hafner, who was out for over a month after right knee surgery, by taking control early against Angels starter Ervin Santana.
Cleveland scored nine times over the first two innings to chase Santana, who tossed a no-hitter against them last season, with Hafner producing a walk in an 11-pitch at-bat during his first trip to the plate.
Hafner went 1-for-3, scored a run and walked twice.
“You could see the Hafner effect right away,” Acta said. “He was on base three times and just had good at-bats. We had quality at-bats throughout our lineup.”
Hafner was far from the only Cleveland player doing damage in the series finale. Every member of the lineup had at least one hit, with Johnny Damon, Asdrubal Cabrera, Casey Kotchman and Lou Marson each producing multihit games, as the Indians recorded their sixth double-digit hit total in the last nine games.
Damon had his first three-hit game as an Indian, with Kotchman hitting a three-run home run in Cleveland’s six-run second inning. Michael Brantley also went deep, hitting his second homer of the year in the opening inning.
The run support was a welcome sight for Indians starting pitcher Derek Lowe, who was coming off a month’s worth of struggles in June (1-3, 6.49 ERA).
With a hefty cushion to start the game, the veteran right-hander won for the first time since June 1, allowing three runs on 11 hits over six innings.
Lowe (8-6, 4.43 ERA), who improved to 5-1 with a 2.89 ERA in eight starts at Progressive Field this season, not surprisingly credited the offense for getting him back on the winning track.
“It was nice,” said Lowe, who allowed just a run over the first five innings. “We scored a bunch of runs. That was basically the story of the game. The main thing is you just don’t want to walk anyone.”
“He’s been around. He knows how to pitch with a lead,” Acta said of Lowe. “It was overall, a great performance.”
After a road trip in which the Indians went 1-5 with a sagging offense against the last-place Astros and Yankees, few saw this hit parade coming.
“That’s how this game goes,” said Acta, whose club trailed the first-place White Sox by 1 1/2 games after win. “That’s why you don’t have time here to whine. You have to get ready to play and put things behind you.”
“We’re young,” Lowe said. “These guys probably don’t remember what happened yesterday. Good teams have that. Good teams can forget bad games.”
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or email@example.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.