Kennedy Cruises Past Cleveland in Combined Six-Hit Shutout; Royals 7, Indians 0
Bob Toth | On 07, May 2016
A three-run home run from Kendrys Morales in the first inning proved to be more than enough for Royals starter Ian Kennedy and his bullpen mates in a 7-0 shutout of the Cleveland Indians from Progressive Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Indians could not get anything going against the Royals offseason free agent addition Kennedy, who was making a rare start against Cleveland and just the second of his career at Progressive Field. As if he needed any help on the afternoon, he got several early runs and a few more late for unnecessary insurance.
Indians starter Cody Anderson was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to make the start and immediately ran into the same problems that plagued him prior to his temporary demotion. Lorenzo Cain singled to left with one out and moved to third on a single from Eric Hosmer to right. After two quick strikes to Morales, the switch-hitting slugger cleared the seats in right field for a monstrous three-run jack to give the Royals a 3-0 lead after four batters.
Anderson would settle down and face the minimum until the fifth inning, when the Royals would add to their tally.
“He had Morales 0-2, tried to bust him a cutter in, and left it middle-middle and he hit it a long way,” said Indians manager Terry Francona during his postgame interview. “That was an 0-2, three-run home run that hurt.”
Cleveland tried to get something going in the bottom half of the first, but to no avail. Rajai Davis singled to center, stole second an out later, and moved to third on a one-out single from Francisco Lindor. Mike Napoli struck out and Carlos Santana flied to left to end the short threat.
It took just three pitches in the fifth for the Royals to add to their lead. After Cheslor Cuthbert lined out to left, Christian Colon got a first-pitch single to center, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a double on the next pitch to Jarrod Dyson. The score was now 4-0 in favor of the Royals, who would need no more than that on the back of a solid pitching effort from the Kansas City staff, who would hold the Indians to just six hits on the day.
The Indians finally got their third hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth, when Juan Uribe led off the inning with a single to center, but he was erased on a double play ball from Davis. The Tribe tried to jump start the rally again with a walk to Jason Kipnis and a single to left from Lindor. Napoli worked the count full before walking to load the bases, but with their best opportunity to slash into the KC lead, Santana grounded to first on the first pitch of his at bat to squash the rally.
In the eighth, the Royals erased all doubt and did so against Jeff Manship. Four straight hits to start the inning plated the first two runs, as Alcides Escobar and Cain each singled before a ground rule double into the left field corner by Hosmer scored a run. A single by Morales ended Manship’s afternoon and Dan Otero came on in relief. After getting a pair of strikeouts, he allowed a single to center by Cuthbert, which scored Hosmer with the third run of the inning and the seventh of the day.
With their last ditch effort in the bottom of the eighth, Cleveland put runners on the corners with one out but could not score. Uribe singled to right center and, after a strikeout by Davis, Kipnis ripped a double to the right-center gap. But Lindor lined to Hosmer at first, who fired to second to nap Kipnis off of the bag by a split second to again end a rally with no damage done.
The Indians’ four-game winning streak came to an end with Saturday’s loss and dropped the club back to 14-13 on the season. The Royals improved to 15-14 (6-9 on the road) and are back above the .500 mark.
Kennedy (4-2, 2.13 ERA), making just his third career start against Cleveland and his first since 2011 while with Arizona, was impressive again on the mound for the Royals on Saturday. He gave KC seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a pair of walks while striking out six.
“He really pitched. He threw a lot of strikes. Didn’t throw the ball in the middle of the plate very much and he changed speeds,” said Francona. “We had the one chance, we got to Carlos, and he got a first pitch groundout to first. We didn’t have a ton of chances, he just really pitched well.”
After a first inning single to Lindor, Kennedy retired 14 consecutive Indians batters until the Uribe single to lead off the sixth.
EARLY MISTAKE HAUNTS ANDERSON
Anderson’s home run woes reared their heads again as the first inning blast by Morales was more than enough for Kennedy. Anderson (0-2, 7.56) did ultimately settle in and allowed just one more run on the game, giving him a total of four earned runs allowed on six hits. He walked one and struck out two while throwing 69 pitches (48 for strikes).
“I was starting to get some of that weaker contact and some of those different swings, which is huge. Getting some groundballs,” said Anderson after the game. “Predominantly they were hitting the ball on the ground so that is something to build off and keep moving forward. Obviously I don’t ever want to go out there and put my team in a hole, especially against a pitcher like Kennedy. That’s just not how you win ball games. I’ll take that loss.”
“I thought he was better,” said Francona. “He was down. He threw some good changeups. He made a really bad pitch to the wrong guy.”
Francona reported after the game that Anderson was pulled with a cramp in his left leg.
“I took him out because his left leg was cramping,” Francona said. “It’s hard enough to get good hitters out when you feel good. The medical guys talked to him a little. He sweats so much. He changes jerseys every couple innings. We’ll try to keep an eye on that a little better.”
“It was weird. Haven’t really had that issue since last year,” said Anderson. “Just started getting cramped up after sitting down for a little bit. I sweat a lot. I go through a couple jerseys a game. As the weather changes, I guess I need to drink more water.”
HERRERA SCORELESS STREAK CONTINUES
Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera extended his scoreless streak to start the season to 15 straight games with a dicey, but scoreless, eighth inning.
MANSHIP’S STREAK ENDS
Manship’s streak of 23 2/3 straight scoreless innings came to an end in the eighth inning. He allowed four hits and was charged with three earned runs while not retiring a batter. It was the first earned run allowed by the Indians reliever since August 22nd and the first time he allowed two runs or more in an outing since July 22, 2014. He had allowed six hits through his first seven and one-third innings before the four Saturday.
The top four hitters in the KC lineup combined to go 8-for-16 with six runs scored and five runs batted in. Each of the four batters (Escobar, Cain, Hosmer, and Morales) had two hits on the afternoon. The other five men in the lineup combined to go 4-for-19 with one run and two RBI.
GOTTA SCORE FIRST
The Indians fall to 2-9 when failing to score the first run of the game. They are 12-4 when putting the first notch on the scoreboard.
LINDOR DOING A LITANY OF THINGS
With another two-hit day at the plate, Lindor pushed his team-leading total of multi-hit games to ten. He again flashed in the field defensively.
CHISENHALL IN CENTER
Lonnie Chisenhall entered the game in the top of the ninth inning and got his first MLB action as a center fielder as Davis slid over to left field for Jose Ramirez, who took over for Kipnis at second base in the lopsided contest. The second batter of the inning, Escobar, lifted a fly to him that he caught.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas was placed on the 15-day disabled list after meeting with acclaimed hand and wrist specialist Dr. Thomas Graham at the Cleveland Clinic. He has a fractured right thumb and is expected to miss several weeks of action. Cuthbert was recalled from Triple-A Omaha to take his spot on the roster.
The Indians made the tough call to option outfielder Tyler Naquin to Triple-A Columbus in order to make room on the 25-man roster for the recall of Anderson for Saturday’s start. It was expressed that the club hopes for him to work regularly in Columbus while working on his route running and other defensive work in the outfield. He left the team quickly so that he could report to Toledo in time for their game Saturday night, but he was not in the starting lineup against the Mud Hens.
“Offensively, I thought he did a pretty good job of holding his [own],” said Francona prior to Saturday’s game. “He was hitting .300. He was hitting at the bottom of the order, but doing a pretty good job. We tried to explain to him last night, being a Major League center fielder, and what that entails on a good team. And he understood. His level of maturity kind of took us all back last night. This is a tough thing. I don’t care who you are or where you are, going down is not what you want to hear. And his level of maturity was unbelievable.”
The stopper, Josh Tomlin (4-0, 3.13 ERA), will aim for a series win for the Indians when he takes the center of the diamond in Sunday’s 1:10 PM ET first pitch. He is 11-0 in his last 12 starts when pitching after an Indians loss. Right-hander Edinson Volquez (3-2, 3.13) will counter for Kansas City.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images