Ventura Blazes By Tribe; Royals 7, Indians 1
Mike B. | On 23, Sep 2014
But for now, it’s Ventura and the Royals who rein supreme over the Tribe and Salazar. Tuesday night Kansas City likely drove the final nail into Cleveland’s postseason coffin with a 7-1 win at Progressive Field behind a pair of big innings, offensively.
Salazar was strong the first time through the batting order, before Kansas City took advantage of some poor location in their second time through. Ventura, meanwhile, kept the Tribe bats silent all evening. The young, fireballer only allowed four hits to Cleveland.
Salazar was sharp early, striking out the side in both the first and second innings. He worked around a double and an error by Jose Ramirez in the third inning before the wheels began to fall off in the fourth inning. Billy Butler walked and Alex Gordon singled to start the fourth. Once Salvador Perez popped out, Omar Infante doubled down the left field line to score both runners and give the Royals a 2-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, Kansas City knocked Salazar from the game. After retiring the first two outs of the inning, Eric Hosmer doubled and Butler hit a ground rule double to score him. After Gordon was intentionally walked, Perez broke the game open with a double to center field scoring both Butler and Gordon to make it 5-0.
That ended Salazar’s (6-8) evening. He allowed five runs on eight hits and three walks, while striking out eight in only four and two-third innings. Kyle Crockett finished the fifth inning.
In the other dugout, Ventura was in complete control. He allowed a single to Michael Brantley in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Brantley has had a hit in every game but one in September and is now just five hits from reaching the 200-hit plateau. Ventura’s allowed were a single to left by Lonnie Chisenhall in the fifth inning and two more in the seventh to Mike Aviles and Michael Bourn.
C.C. Lee and Nick Hagadone pitched the sixth inning before Hagadone and Scott Atchison managed to allow two more runs in the seventh inning. Hosmer singled off Hagadone before Atchison was summoned from the bullpen. Butler then singled and Gordon doubled in both runners to make it 7-0 Kansas City.
Ventura (14-10) finally showed weakness in his final inning, issuing a walk and two hits in the frame, but kept the shutout in tact. He pitched seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and four walks, while striking out six. Ventura was throwing 100 mph in the last inning. His next start could be in the Wild Card game or an American League Division Series contest. Ventura is now 3-0 in four starts this season against the Indians.
Scott Downs pitched the bottom of the eighth inning, allowing a run. Brantley doubled to left center field for his second hit of the game, closing the gap to just four shy of 200 hits. Santana reached on error, advancing Brantley to third and the run scored when Kansas City elected to turn a double play instead of pursuing the runner. The run ended a 19-inning scoreless streak.
Austin Adams pitched the seventh inning and two outs in the eighth before giving way to Bryan Shaw for his 78th appearance of the season. He is now just one appearance short of the Indians all-time record, set by Bobby Howry in 2005.
Jason Frasor pitched a scoreless ninth inning for Kansas City. The win for the Royals improves them to 85-71 on the season, while Cleveland drops to 82-76. Kansas City now has a 3.5 game lead in the Wild Card race over Seattle and 4.5 games over Cleveland.
Cleveland is now just playing out the string and will try to salvage the final game of the three game series. Trevor Bauer (5-8, 4.06) will make his final start of the season for Cleveland against Jason Vargas (11-10, 3.59) of the Royals.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images