Lowe-Down Beating By Kansas City; Royals 8, Indians 3
By Dave Roberts
After being swept in Minnesota by the Twins over the weekend the Indians sought to get back on the winning track and inch back towards .500 against the Royals. They turned to Derek Lowe to face off against Luke Hochevar another struggling pitcher. What unfolded was yet another meltdown by Lowe, meanwhile his opponent Hochevar managed to dance in and out of danger on his way to a win.
Lowe started the game in grand fashion as Alex Gordon led off the game for the Royals with a single. The following hitter, Alcides Escobar, put down a well placed sacrifice bunt advancing Gordon to second, then allowing the next hitter Lorenzo Cain to single and drive in the run giving the Royals an early 1-0 lead.
Heading into the second it looked like Lowe may have possibly settled down after getting two early outs but then he subsequently gave up a double to Chris Getz, followed by a Jarred Dyson double, then an Alex Gordon walk, followed by a Alcides Escobar single that plated two more runs for the Royals reclaiming the lead at 3-2.
Then came the third inning in which Lowe finally imploded after allowing a leadoff single to Billy Butler, he was able to retire Mike Moustakas on a flyout for the first out, unfortunately what followed was a disaster. Salvador Perez followed up with a single, and then a walk to Eric Hosmer loaded the bases. After a coaching visit Lowe then proceeded to balk while facing Chris Getz allowing one run to score and move runners to second and third. Getz then followed up with a two-run double placing the Royals with a firm lead at 6-3.
Finally, Manny Acta had seen enough of Lowe and went to the pen for Josh Tomlin, who had recently been removed from the starting rotation after his own pitching woes. Tomlin would get Dyson to fly out for the second out in the inning but then surrendered a double to Alex Gordon allowing Getz to score, thus closing the book on Lowe. The Royals would add one other run, this one charged to Tomlin, as he allowed a triple to Alcides Escobar scoring Gordon and placing the Royals with a big 8-3 lead.
The Indians bullpen was able to keep the Royals offense scoreless the rest of the way as Tomlin settled down after his early roughness to toss two scoreless innings, followed up by Jeremy Accardo who added another two scoreless innings and then finally Joe Smith who pitched a scoreless eighth. Unfortunately, the damage had been done early leaving the Indians offense firmly trailing in the dust.
On the offensive side of things, the Indians offense managed to match the Royals early in the game for run production. After the Royals had drawn first blood in the bottom of the first, the Indians retaliated with a leadoff single by Michael Brantley then followed by a Carlos Santana double that put runners at second and third with no outs. After a Hafner strikeout, Johnny Damon hooked a single down the first baseline scoring Brantley tying the game. Casey Kotchman followed through with a single of his own scoring Santana for the go-ahead run.
But then Hochevar managed to dance out of danger by striking out Hannahan and Choo to end the inning. The Indians got off to another good start in the third with a leadoff double by Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis followed with a groundout moving the runner to third. The Indians then got lucky when Hochevar tossed a wild pitch with Brantley at the plate allowing the run to score tying the game at 3-3. That was all the Indians offense could muster though as Hochevar managed to make it through six innings, followed by Collins for two innings and then Aaron Crow for a scoreless ninth.
With Tomlin now out of the rotation and a minor league call up in the works to replace his spot on Thursday it stands to reason that Derek Lowe may soon be vacating his rotation spot as well in favor of another young arm. Meanwhile the Indians (50-53) look to continue this road trip and stop their four game losing streak against the Royals (42-60) tomorrow at 8:10 pm pitting Zach McAllister (4-2, 3.18) against Luis Mendoza (4-7, 4.47).
Photo: AP Photo/Orlin Wagner