Cleveland Quieted As Royals Claim Series; Royals 7, Indians 2
Bob Toth | On 18, Sep 2013
Three early runs off of Danny Salazar were all the runs that Kansas City would need, as the Royals defeated the Cleveland Indians by a 7-2 final from Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Indians found themselves in an early hole in the bottom of the first inning.
After Salazar retired the first two batters on grounders to short, Eric Hosmer singled to right. After a walk to Billy Butler, Salvador Perez doubled to deep left field. The throw to the plate from the Cleveland cutoff man short-hopped Yan Gomes behind the plate, allowing Butler to score on the back end of the play and moving Perez into third base. With Mike Moustakas at the plate with a 1-1 count, Salazar threw wild to the plate, allowing Perez to score as the Indians starter was unable to field the throw from Gomes in his attempt to prevent Perez from scoring. After one inning, Kansas City led 3-0.
Cleveland cut into the K.C. lead in the third. Gomes singled to right off of Royals starter Bruce Chen and scored on a double by Michael Brantley, as center fielder Jarrod Dyson mishandled and booted the ball on the play. A sacrifice by Mike Aviles moved Brantley up to third base, and a sacrifice fly from Michael Bourn drove him in to make it a 3-2 deficit.
The Royals padded their lead in the fifth as the Indians struggled with the fundamentals. With one out, Alcides Escobar singled to center. Alex Gordon singled to right, moving Escobar to third. Gordon attempted to steal second with Emilio Bonifacio at the bat and the Indians got the Royals star into a rundown between first and second. With Gordon in a pickle, the Indians infielders saw an opportunity to pick off Escobar at third base and were able to induce a rundown there, but after a throw to the plate, Gomes, who was chasing Escobar back to third, missed a tag attempt and the Royals runner was able to jump back up and reach home plate successfully.
“I thought we handled it perfect” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “And then [Gomes] glanced to see where the trail runner was and the runner, Dyson, went underneath him. But to that point, I thought they did a good job, nobody panicked, they kept the runner in view the whole time, they kept the run down going, he just went under the tag. That was a big play.”
The Indians missed a big opportunity in the sixth, after a leadoff single by Bourn and a walk by Nick Swisher that ended the night of Chen. Jason Kipnis sacrificed the runners over against reliever Francisley Bueno and nearly reached first base safely. Carlos Santana weakly grounded out to third base for the second out, forcing Bourn to hold at the bag. Reliever Louis Coleman replaced Bueno and got Ryan Raburn to fly out to right field to end the threat with Kansas City still on top, 4-2.
Chen (8-3) allowed a pair of earned runs, his first two earned runs allowed against Cleveland this season, on four hits. He walked one and struck out one.
Salazar (1-3) lasted six innings on the evening. He allowed four earned runs on six hits, walked one, and struck out three, equaling his career low in a start.
“I thought early on he was obviously pretty amped up and a couple of the at bats he got where he was overthrowing it a little bit,” said Francona. “As he settled into the game and started using all of his pitches he was really good. I just think he was a little strong which, for his future and for us, is great. Some of those guys, you can’t throw the ball past. You have to locate it a little bit.”
The Royals put the game out of reach for the Indians in the eighth. Reliever C.C. Lee allowed a pair to reach, one on a single and another on a routine fly ball that was dropped by Raburn. Nick Hagadone relieved and got the first out on a sacrifice before an intentional walk to load the bases and an unintentional walk of Dyson to force in the fifth run of the night for the Royals. Carlos Carrasco replaced Hagadone and allowed a two-run single to left center by Escobar to make it a 7-2 game. After another intentional walk in the inning, the bullpen retired the final two outs to prevent further distance in the score.
Greg Holland pitched an easy one-two-three inning in the ninth in a non-save situation to end it.
The loss for Cleveland (82-70) keeps the Indians six games in back of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central. They end their road trip with a 5-2 record after losing two of three to the Royals and will remain a half game out in the AL Wild Card picture.
Kipnis was 0-for-Kansas City with six strikeouts in eleven at bats after getting four hits in ten at bats in the Chicago portion of the roadie.
The American League’s leader in the second half of the season with a 1.83 ERA, Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9, 3.49) will take the mound on Thursday in game one of the Indians four game series this weekend with Houston. Dallas Keuchel (6-9, 5.17) will start for Bo Porter and the Astros.
If not planning to view the game in person, watch the action on Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio or listen on any of the affiliates of the Cleveland Indians Radio Network. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel