ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Ron Washington remembers being impressed by Lonnie Chisenhall when the infielder was an up-and-comer with the Cleveland Indians.
The Texas manager hadn’t seen much of him since – until the last four days in the Rangers’ home ballpark.
Chisenhall had nine RBIs and three home runs in a five-hit game, Michael Brantley scored five times and the Indians beat the Rangers 17-7 Monday night.
“He disappeared for a couple of years,” Washington said. “I guess he figured it out. At least he figured it out against us. He just wasn’t missing. Breaking balls, fastballs, it didn’t matter.”
The only other nine-RBI game in Cleveland history was by Chris James in a 20-6 victory over Oakland on May 4, 1991.
Chisenhall, who had the second multihomer game of his career, finished 10 for 17 with four homers and 13 RBIs in a trip to Texas that ended with Cleveland’s first road winning streak of the season.
“I know a day like today is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said Chisenhall, who raised his batting average to .385 but needs more plate appearances to quality for the league lead. “I’m enjoying it as much as I can. I don’t know the history of it, who’s done it in the past.”
The history is pretty exclusive.
Major League Baseball said it was the first time a player went 5 for 5 with three homers and nine RBIs, since the RBI became a statistic in 1920. He also is only the fourth big leaguer to have at least five hits, nine RBIs and three homers in a game – first since Boston’s Fred Lynn in 1975, according to STATS.
Before his third homer, Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis danced in the dugout together during a brief break after home plate umpire Jim Wolf was knocked out of the game when he was hit in the mask by a foul ball.
Maybe they knew what was coming.
“As hard as it is to beat those dance moves, his swing was prettier,” Kipnis said. “He’s attacking the ball right now, and he’s swinging at the right pitches and he’s learning about himself as a hitter. Right now, he’s in one of those zones when he attacks and he’s just not missing.”
The Indians won three straight in the four-game set after coming to the Lone Star State with the worst road record in the majors. They’re headed to Kansas City to continue the first of three 10-game trips this season.
Cleveland hit five homers, won for the ninth time in 10 games and pulled within two games of Detroit just three weeks after trailing by 10 1/2.Chisenhall had two-run homers in the second and fourth innings before hitting a three-run shot down the right field line in the eighth to give the Indians a 17-6 lead.
It was his second homer off Texas reliever Scott Baker, who was trying to give the Rangers a long outing but allowed 11 hits and nine runs in five innings. Texas is winless in its last seven series at home.
“I don’t care about numbers,” Baker said. “It’s just about giving our team the innings that they need and just like I said keeping the game where it was. That wasn’t the case tonight.”
Chisenhall had the first three-homer game for the Indians since Sept. 17, 2010, by Shin-Soo Choo, who now plays for the Rangers. The left-handed hitter had an RBI single in the first and a run-scoring double in the sixth.
The homers and RBIs were career highs for Chisenhall. He had five hits earlier this season at Toronto.
Texas right-hander Nick Martinez (1-3) gave up eight runs in two innings in a matchup of rookie starters. Cleveland left-hander T.J. House didn’t make it to the fifth inning and missed a chance for his first major league win despite taking a 9-1 lead into the third.
Scott Atchison (3-0) pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings.
Brantley tied his career high with his 10th home run for a 10-4 lead in the fourth and reached base all five times. George Kottaras had the other Cleveland homer, his third.
Texas’ Alex Rios, who went 2 for 4 and is the AL’s top hitter at .335, had his league-leading eighth triple, driving home Adrian Beltre in the third. Michael Choice hit his third homer in the past five games, giving him six for the season.
Kipnis had three singles and four RBIs for the Indians, including a two-run single in a five-run second inning.
NOTES: The others with five hits, three homers and 9 RBIs since 1920, according to STATS, were Gil Hodges for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950 against the Boston Braves and Walker Cooper for Cincinnati against the Chicago Cubs in 1949. … Chisenhall’s outburst was the first with at least three homers and nine RBIs in the majors since the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez had three homers and 10 RBIs against the Los Angeles Angels on April 26, 2005.