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Four home runs carry Tribe to 9-6 win over Cincinnati

The favorable hitting conditions of Goodyear Ballpark came into play on Wednesday in what shaped out to be a slugfest between the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds. The IBI's John Alfes recaps the Tribe's final afternoon game of March...

Summary

With their spring training roster dwindling down to 27 active players and seven non-roster invitees, the Indians are beginning to feature a projected version of their Opening Day lineup in Cactus League play.

Manager Terry Francona included all of his big bats in the batting order on Wednesday as part of a 9-6 victory over Cincinnati at Goodyear Ballpark.

Yandy Diaz, Michael Brantley, Brandon Guyer and Francisco Lindor each hit a home run and accounted for seven runs in the high-scoring affair.

Converting with runners in scoring position

Aside from their quartet of long balls, the Tribe was able to take advantage of many run-scoring opportunities over the course of the contest.

The offensive production began in the top of the second when Edwin Encarnacion (walk), Jose Ramirez (single) and Guyer (error) all reached base safely against a laboring Brandon Finnegan. Two batters later, Cleveland found themselves grasping a 4-3 lead thanks to Austin Jackson's sacrifice fly and Diaz's three-run homer.

"He is some kind of hitter," said Francona to reporters in regards to Diaz. "Whether he makes our club or not, that's not going to deter our view of him. This kid's got a chance to be a really good hitter and a really good player."

Once Finnegan departed, the Indians put a dent in Louis Coleman's stat line by notching extra-base hits with three of their first four hitters in the fifth frame. Brantley set the tone with a leadoff bomb to right center field before Ramirez doubled and Guyer went yard.

"You could tell he had a little extra giddy-up in his step," Francona said about Brantley's solo home run. "He's worked so hard that, every time something good happens, I'm so happy for him. I mean, for so long, he's kind of been the heart and soul of our team."

Lindor and Michael Martinez registered a solo shot and RBI single respectively to put the cherry on top of the well-rounded offensive performance.

Eight different players tallied at least one hit in a game where the Tribe batted .444 (4-for-9) with runners in scoring position and only left six men on base.

Carrasco allows nine hits, four runs

The final preseason outing for Carlos Carrasco was reminiscent of his previous spring appearances in that his fastball was flat and tended to catch too much of the strike zone. Bryan Price's lineup took notice of the righty's early struggles by hitting two home runs to yield an early 3-0 advantage.

"The first inning, everything was leaking back over the middle," said Francona. "He knew it. Roberto (Perez) knew it. We knew it. Everything came back to the middle, and they were squaring him up pretty good."

Although Carrasco was somewhat able to settle in, he finished with a discouraging ledger: 4 IP, 9 H, 4 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 HR (two groundouts, one flyout).

"You don't want to see that happen when the season starts, because it makes it harder to win," Francona said. "I still thought he made some gains today, which is good."

Left-handers Andrew Miller and Boone Logan allowed one run apiece in the fifth and sixth before Dan Otero, Tyler Olson and Josh Martin combined for three scoreless innings to cap off the bounce back win. 

Up next

Chase Field will play host to Game 1 of a two-game series between the Indians and Diamondbacks on Thursday night at 9:40 PM ET.

Chris Narveson is scheduled for his first start of the spring vs. Arizona's biggest off-season acquisition in Taijuan Walker.

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.


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