By STEVE HERRICK, Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — Edwin Encarnacion’s big day included a congratulatory phone call from another Dominican slugger.
Encarnacion homered three times and drove in six runs, helping Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians beat the Texas Rangers 12-4 on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old Encarnacion said Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols made a FaceTime call to him after the victory.
“We used to talk a lot,” Encarnacion said. “He called me almost every day and we’d talk about hitting. He’s a great guy.”
Encarnacion hit a three-homer in the first, a two-run shot in the second and a solo drive in the eighth. The designated hitter leads the team with nine homers despite a .191 batting average.
“I feel very comfortable about myself and I know what I can do,” he said. “It’s just about timing and about playing.”
Encarnacion also had a slow start last season and was batting .198 in mid-May. He finished with a .258 average, 38 homers and 107 RBIs.
“We’ve all seen how hot he can get where he can kind of put you on his shoulders a little bit,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.
Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor also connected in Cleveland’s highest scoring game of the season. Kipnis’ three-run shot in the second was his first of the season.
Kluber (5-1) allowed three solo homers in seven innings in his fifth straight win. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner struck out six and walked none.
“Obviously that’s a huge cushion,” Kluber said of the offense scoring nine times in the first two innings. “It allows you to go out there and be aggressive and attack the zone and ideally get deep into the game.”
Rangers starter Matt Moore (1-4) allowed a career-high 10 runs in four innings, including three homers. The left-hander gave up 11 hits and walked two while throwing 94 pitches.
“It was a bad day,” Moore said. “I’ve got to do way better. A lot of the pitches, it just seemed like they knew what was coming. I don’t have an answer for that.”
Each team used nine relievers over the series’ first two games, leaving both bullpens overworked. Kluber gave Cleveland exactly what it needed while Moore stumbled.
The Indians got four in the first and five in the second. Michael Brantley hit an RBI single in the first before Encarnacion drove a 1-0 pitch into the bleachers in left for his seventh of the season.
After Kipnis went deep, Lindor singled and Encarnacion made it 9-1 with a two-out drive to center.
Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Juan Centeno homered for Texas, which lost for the third time in four games. Gallo also homered in the 12th inning of Texas’ 8-6 win on Tuesday night.
Texas claimed catcher Carlos Perez off waivers from Atlanta. He will join the Rangers on Thursday.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus, who has been sidelined with a broken right elbow since April 12, was moved to the 60-day disabled list. Andrus is batting .327 with two homers and five RBIs in 14 games. He’s eligible to be activated June 11.
BAD PLAY, GOOD PLAY
Texas center fielder Delino DeShields fell down coming in for Erik Gonzalez’s hit in the fifth. The ball rolled to the warning track and the play resulted in a triple. DeShields then saved two runs with leaping catch at the wall on Lindor’s long drive to end the inning.
The Rangers placed right-hander Chris Martin on the 10-day disabled list with a forearm cramp. Right-hander Nick Gardewine was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock and worked two scoreless innings.
Indians right-hander Ben Taylor pitched a scoreless ninth after being called up from Triple-A Columbus. Right-hander Matt Belisle was designated for assignment.
Rangers: LHP Jake Diekman was unavailable after being hit in the back and left triceps by Encarnacion’s line drive Tuesday.
Indians: 3B Jose Ramirez (right hip/groin soreness) was out of the lineup for the first time this season.
Rangers: LHP Mike Minor (2-1, 4.33 ERA) takes on Red Sox LHP David Price (2-3, 3.78 ERA) at Globe Life Park on Thursday night.
Indians: Finish their 11-game homestand with a doubleheader against Toronto on Thursday, with RHP Carlos Carrasco (4-1, 3.08 ERA) and RHP Adam Plutko (first appearance) on the mound. Carrasco’s back stiffened up after tripping on the dugout steps in his last start and was limited to three innings.
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