CLEVELAND (AP) – The Cleveland Indians sponsored a Yan Gomes jersey give-away Saturday night.
He made sure the fans went home with a winning souvenir. Gomes’ eighth-inning grand slam capped a five-run rally and the Indians defeated the Los Angeles Angels 8-3.
“I realized there were a bunch of Gomes jerseys out there,” the catcher said. “I thought maybe everybody was liking me today or what.”
Gomes was happy he could make his jersey night something people will remember.
“To do it one way or the other, punch out three times or do something big, I’m glad it went my way,” he said.
Gomes homered to center on the first pitch from Joe Smith (4-4) for his first career grand slam, lifting Cleveland to its fourth straight win.
Carlos Santana’s RBI double broke a 3-all tie and sent Los Angeles to its seventh loss in nine games. The Angels are 2 1-2 games behind Texas for the second AL wild card.
Bryan Shaw (3-2) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings for Cleveland, which is five games out in the wild-card race.
Smith entered the game to start the eighth but didn’t retire a batter, allowing five runs, four hits and an intentional walk.
Asked about his performance, Smith said, “Apparently nothing was working. I didn’t get an out.”
Rookie Francisco Lindor started the rally with a leadoff single on an eight-pitch at-bat. Michael Brantley’s singled on the first pitch and Santana lined Smith’s first pitch to right, giving Cleveland the lead.
Lonnie Chisenhall was walked intentionally but Gomes, who drove in a career-high five runs, foiled that strategy with a blast to dead center field.
Gomes assumed Smith would challenge him and was ready to hit.
“We got the lead and I’m just trying to do anything to let it play,” he said. “Get a nice little sac fly and do something to get a run in. I wanted to get on the first pitch I saw.”
Gomes missed six weeks early in the season with a strained ligament in his left knee, which partially explains why his average has dropped to .221 after hitting .278 last season.
“Gomer’s been a little bit inconsistent hitting,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We’ve said that all along so often with a guy who has missed significant chunks of time. The good part is he’s never once not handled his responsibilities of catching.”
The game was delayed by rain for 38 minutes in the bottom of the third.
Neither starter was involved in the decision. Corey Kluber allowed three runs, including solo homers to Kole Calhoun and David Murphy, in six innings.
Garrett Richards, who retired 13 of the final 14 hitters he faced, gave up three runs in seven innings.
Calhoun’s homer came on the first pitch of the game and broke an 0-for-17 slump.
Gomes tied the game with a second-inning sacrifice fly. Following the delay, Chisenhall’s two-run single gave Cleveland the lead in the third.
Murphy, traded from Cleveland to Los Angeles on Aug. 28, homered to lead off the fourth. Brantley’s fielding error on Kaleb Cowart’s two-out double allowed the tying run to score.
Mike Trout, the reigning AL MVP, was 0 for 3 with a walk and is hitting .194 (18 for 93) in August. He is 1 for 16 in five games against the Indians this season. Trout hasn’t homered in 21 games, the longest drought of his career.
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