DETROIT -- Propelled by Jose Ramirez's two-homer, five-extra-base-hit performance, the Indians extended their winning streak to 11 games with an 11-1 win over the Tigers on Sunday afternoon to complete a four-game series sweep at Comerica Park and move nine games ahead of the second-place Twins in the American League Central.
The Indians extended their longest winning streak since last June and clinched their first four-game sweep in Detroit by pouncing on spot starter Chad Bell (0-2) and the Tigers' bullpen. Ramirez's first-inning solo homer -- which left fielder Mikie Mahtook inadvertently barehanded over the wall -- put the Tribe on top before he doubled and scored in the third. His sixth-inning homer off rookie reliever Zac Reininger, a two-run loft over the right-field fence, bounced off Alex Presley's glove.
Ramirez had three doubles to go with his home runs, tying a Major League record with five extra-base hits in a game. He's the first Indian to do it since Kelly Shoppach on July 30, 2008. That game was also against the Tigers.
"He's hit us very well over the last two years," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "It seems every player has a team that they really do well against. We're probably that team for Ramirez."
The switch-hitting Ramirez homered from both sides of the plate for the third time this season, setting a franchise record.
"I said he'll be fine, I told you he was a good hitter," manager Terry Francona said in reference to Ramirez's recent 0-for-17 slump.
"And that's what good hitters do, they get to their level. Sometimes they do it in kind of unique ways or weird ways, but he's just a really good hitter."
"It felt like I wasn't very crisp early on," Tomlin said. "I was leaving some balls in the middle of the plate and they were hitting it hard, but our defense was playing unbelievably behind me."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Up, down and away: Ramirez's first-inning home run was an oddity, a drive to left that bounced off the padding of the fence, went straight up and then bounced off the top of the padding again and back into play. Mahtook tried to barehand the ball on the rebound and then knocked it over the fence.
"I made my decision once it hit the first time that I was going to try to bat it in, because I didn't know where it was going to go," Mahtook said. "Unfortunately, it bounced toward me and I just knocked it out." More >
Ramirez breaks for home: Ramirez's third-inning double skipped to the fence, but his greater feat that inning might have been his break for home from third on Carlos Santana's chopper back to the mound. Bell reached up to grab the ball but seemed startled to find Ramirez headed home. The left-hander's throw forced James McCann to reach behind, giving Ramirez enough room to slide around McCann's swipe tag and touch home plate.
"I read the bounce and thought it was high enough that I could take a chance," Ramirez said through a translator. "I read it good. The pitcher did a good job of trying to throw it quick enough, but I already had a good jump."
"It felt really good to get out there and compete and actually be a part of the team again. When you're on the DL for that long, you don't really forget what it's like to compete, but you kind of get that feeling when you get back out there. That adrenaline, that rush, it's a good feeling." -- Tomlin, on making his return from the DL
"Miguel Cabrera is out. Victor Martinez is out. We traded Justin Upton. We've got a bunch of young guys without a lot of experience, and we're playing against one of the best teams in baseball and facing some of the best pitchers in baseball. So am I disappointed? Absolutely not. The effort was there." -- Ausmus
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The Indians have outscored their opponents by a 79-18 margin over their 11-game winning streak. They've had two winning streaks of nine or more games this year, the first season they've done that since 1954.
Francisco Lindor hit his 26th homer, setting a new Indians record for home runs by a shortstop.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Cleveland's 11-game road trip marches on to Chicago, where the Tribe opens a four-game series with the White Sox on Monday at 2:10 p.m. ET. Trevor Bauer (14-8, 4.46 ERA) goes for his fourth straight win in his first start against the Indians' division rivals since last season.
Tigers: The Tigers celebrate Labor Day at Comerica Park with a 1:10 p.m. ET matinee against the Royals, starting a three-game series. Artie Lewicki gets the start in his Major League debut after going 14-4 with a 3.38 ERA between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo.