Jordan Luplow and the Cleveland Indians’ anemic offense once again found the tonic they needed in Manny Bañuelos and the Chicago White Sox.
Luplow hit two of Cleveland’s five homers, Carlos Carrasco cruised through seven innings and the Indians pounded the White Sox 9-0 on Tuesday.
Roberto Pérez, Jake Bauers and José Ramirez also went deep as the light-hitting Indians muscled up against Bañuelos and Josh Osich to end Chicago’s three-game winning streak.
The 25-year-old Luplow has hit all four of his homers this season against Chicago and three off Bañuelos. His previous two drives against the White Sox left-hander came in a rain-shortened 5-0 win in Cleveland last Thursday. Luplow hit six home runs in brief looks the past two years with Pittsburgh.
“I don’t know what it is, honestly,” said Luplow of his success against Chicago and Bañuelos. “It’s a positive sign for our team that we can swing the bats, as long as we can stay consistent with it.”
The Indians could use a kick-start. Cleveland entered hitting just .219, tied with Toronto for worst in the American League. The Indians also came in with only 36 home runs in 40 games, second lowest in the league and fourth lowest in the majors.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit, but it’s in there,” Luplow said. “We have a long way to go. I think this is something we can build off.”
Carrasco (4-3) scattered six singles and struck out six, while walking none, in his second straight solid start. Oliver Pérez, Dan Otero and A.J. Cole combined to complete the seven-hitter.
Bañuelos (2-3) was roughed up for the third straight outing. The left-hander yielded five runs on four hits and three walks before leaving the game with none out in the fifth with a left shoulder strain.
Catcher James McCann said the Indians went deep off Bañuelos’ mistakes, but noticed the lefty wasn’t his usual self.
“The crispness of this stuff wasn’t quite the same,” McCann said. “I know something was off.”
Perez hit his fifth home run for a 1-0 lead in the third. Luplow’s line drive barely cleared the fence in right-center in the fourth to make it 3-0.
The Indians added three more runs in the fifth.
Bauers led off with a homer and Perez then walked, prompting manager Rick Renteria and a trainer to visit the mound. Bañuelos walked off with the trainer and Osich entered.
“He was just shaking his arm around a lot and something didn’t seem right,” Renteria said. “He said he felt something — there was some soreness there — so we took him out.”
With two outs, Jason Kipnis doubled in a run and scored on Carlos Santana’s single.
Luplow and Ramirez hit back-to-back homers to start the sixth to make it 8-0 before the Indians added an unearned run in the eighth.
Indians prospect Oscar Mercado made his major league debut in left field and batted sixth after being recalled from Triple-A Columbus earlier in the day. Mercado struck out swinging in his first three at-bats before being hit by a pitch and scoring in the eighth.
The 24-year-old was hitting .294 with four homers, 15 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 30 games in the minors.
Manager Terry Francona said Mercado’s recall could be short-term while OF Tyler Naquin recovers from a left calf strain. Mercado was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft by St. Louis and traded to the Indians for two minor leaguers last July.
“I think we feel like this kid is a part of our future, and maybe in the meantime he helps us win a couple games that’d be great,” Francona said.
Indians: Put Naquin (left calf strain) on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to May 11, and sent him to Cleveland for an MRI. Naquin, second on the Indians with a .278 batting average, hasn’t played since Friday in Oakland. … RHP Mike Clevinger (back strain) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session before Tuesday’s game. … Francona said RHP and ace Corey Kluber, whose broken right arm is in a cast, will be re-evaluated in three weeks.
White Sox: Bañuelos will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. … After hitting two of Chicago’s four solo homers on Monday, INF Yoan Moncada got the day off, although he was available off the bench. … OF Eloy Jiménez (right high ankle sprain) was set to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday night.
Both teams are off on Wednesday. Indians RHP Trevor Bauer (4-2, 3.02) will start at home Thursday night vs. Baltimore. White Sox RHP Dylan Covey (0-2). 5.91 takes the mound in Chicago on Thursday night against Toronto RHP Marcus Stroman (1-6, 3.12).