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Fresh off IL, Indians' Ramirez has 2 HRs, 7 RBIs

CHICAGO -- Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez said he was "ready to play" after being activated from the injured list Tuesday. Two home runs later, it seems he might have been understating matters.

The switch-hitting Ramirez smacked a first-inning grand slam in his first plate appearance since Aug. 24, swinging left-handed against Chicago White Sox starter Carson Fulmer. He followed that up with a three-run shot from the right side of plate in the third against reliever Hector Santiago.

With the Indians up 11-0 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, manager Terry Francona replaced Ramirez in the lineup with Yu Chang. Ramirez finished the game 2-for-3, striking out in his final at-bat. The Indians won by the same score.

"Seven RBIs his first two at-bats when he had surgery and hasn't played in a month, that's unbelievable," Francona said.

Ramirez had missed four weeks during Cleveland's drive for an American League playoff spot because of a fractured hamate bone in his right hand.

His seven RBIs through three innings Tuesday were a career high for a game.

"I was super, super happy," Ramirez said after his big game. "It was great to be back with the guys and help however I [could]."

Ramirez was activated from the 10-day injured list prior to the contest. Ramirez, who turned 27 last week, suffered the hamate injury on Aug. 24 against the Kansas City Royals. He had surgery two days later.

Ramirez said before the game that he's still "not 100 percent on my wrist, but still I feel a big improvement."

The two-time All-Star hit .254 with 20 homers and 75 RBIs in his first 126 games this season. He was on a tear before getting hurt, hitting .320 with 15 homers and 45 RBIs in 46 games in July and August.

"The idea is that he can hopefully play a lot," Francona said pregame on Tuesday. "Pitchers have to respect who he is.

"It's one less position we have to pick and choose or kind of platoon or whatever we've been doing in a couple of positions."

Cleveland is a half-game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second AL wild card.

The Indians have been hit hard by injuries all year. Second baseman Jason Kipnis underwent season-ending surgery Tuesday, also for a fractured hamate bone in his right hand.

Before Ramirez went on the IL, he had turned around a subpar first-half performance. Prior to the All-Star break, he hit .218 with a .652 OPS in 85 games. Ramirez began the second half before his injury by hitting .327 with a 1.068 OPS.

After his big outing in Chicago, it appears Ramirez has picked up where he left off.

"From the grand slam to the other [homer], it was really exciting, almost like storybook [for] Jose," Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger said.