Resounding Statement Sent as Tribe Thumps Royals; Indians 11, Royals 4
Bob Toth | On 20, Jul 2016
After a horrific eighth inning on Monday, the Cleveland Indians did not roll over or surrender any momentum or ground to the Kansas City Royals. Instead, they responded with a win on Tuesday night and again on Wednesday with a resounding thumping of the Royals on their home field in an 11-4 demolition.
Carlos Carrasco (7-3, 2.31 ERA) received more than enough run support, given his impressive start on a scorching hot afternoon in the finale from Kauffman Stadium. The Indians gave him a first inning lead, just as they had done for Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar in the first two games of the series, and continued to pile on against Royals starter Ian Kennedy.
Kennedy retired all three outs in the first on strikeouts, but after striking out Carlos Santana to start the game, he fell behind 3-1 to Jason Kipnis and the Indians second baseman homered to right center to give Cleveland an early 1-0 lead.
Tyler Naquin made it a two-run lead with a solo shot the opposite way to left to start the third inning. He would factor again in the scoring the next inning after Lonnie Chisenhall was hit by a pitch with two outs and Rajai Davis moved him to third on a single to center. Naquin lined a doubled to right to score both base runners to make it a 4-0 game.
Carrasco retired the first ten in order before a one-out double in the fourth by Cheslor Cuthbert, but he would be stranded there as the Indians number two starter set the next two down on swinging strikeouts.
The four-run lead would disappear in the fifth as the Indians unloaded on Kennedy and chased him from the ball game. Santana homered deep to right field on a no-doubt-about-it shot that left Paulo Orlando standing in place in right as the ball sailed well over his head. Kipnis was called out on strikes before Francisco Lindor was hit by a pitch. Mike Napoli then jumped on a 1-2 pitch and drove it deep and out for his team-leading 22nd homer of the year. Kennedy left for Peter Moylan, who did little to stop the bleeding, walking Jose Ramirez before giving up back-to-back singles to Chisenhall and Davis, the latter of which scored Ramirez to make it 8-0. With a pair on, Naquin then homered to straightaway center, as his second blast of the game made it 11-0. The Indians would put two more on via a walk and a single, chasing Moylan, but reliever Chris Young got a force out to end the onslaught.
Carrasco set down seven straight, including the first three on strikeouts and four in total, before walking a pair in the sixth. A groundout from Eric Hosmer ended the threat.
The Indians left them loaded in the seventh after each of the first three batters walked off of Young. Dan Otero gave up a double to Drew Butera with one out in the bottom of the frame, but escaped unharmed. The same would not be the case in the eighth, when the Royals ripped apart Austin Adams.
A single from Jarrod Dyson was followed by a double from Christian Colon, scoring Dyson as he blew through the stop sign of third base coach Mike Jirschele. A groundout to short by Whit Merrifield held the runner at second, but it was a moot point on a single to center by Cuthbert to make it 11-2. Alex Gordon pinch-hit and doubled home Cuthbert before Adams got a fly to left by Kendrys Morales. Butera stepped in and doubled home Gordon for the fourth run of the frame, leaving Indians manager Terry Francona to have to turn to the bullpen again to bring in Jeff Manship. The righty ended the nonsense with a groundout from Orlando. Kyle Crockett retired the side in order in the ninth to end it.
The Indians (56-38) win their first series in Kansas City since last September. By taking two of three from the Royals, Cleveland improved to 4-2 since the All-Star break and expanded their lead in the American League Central Division to seven and a half games over Detroit after their second loss in a row to Minnesota. They own a league-best 30-13 record in divisional play.
The Royals (47-47) dropped a second straight game at home to fall to 30-15 at Kauffman Stadium this season.
CARRASCO CONTAINS ROYALS
Carrasco’s impressive start was lost some in the offensive display put on by his offense throughout the afternoon.
He went six innings and allowed just the one hit – the double in the fourth to Cuthbert. He walked a pair and struck out six while throwing only 84 pitches.
LONG BALLS KILL KENNEDY
Kennedy (6-8, 4.28) dropped his second game of the season against the Indians. He was charged with seven runs on six hits with a walk and eight strikeouts. The home runs were his undoing, as the four he allowed to Cleveland on Wednesday matched a season high (June 10 against the Chicago White Sox).
NAPOLI BLAST EXTENDS HITTING STREAK
Napoli was 1-for-4 again, extending his hitting streak to nine straight ball games. He is now 12-for-33 (.364) over that stretch of games with five homers and ten RBI. He briefly lost his team lead in homers when Santana homered to lead off the fifth, but recovered it with his blast later in the inning.
FLEXING SOME MUSCLE
The five home runs hit by the Indians on the day matched a season-high. They hit five against the New York Yankees on July 8 at Progressive Field. Kipnis (twice), Santana, and Napoli each homered in that game, along with Chisenhall.
NAQUIN’S CAREER DAY
It was the first time in his brief MLB career that Naquin has hit two homers in a game. The six runs he drove in were also a career high, exceeding his previous best of four set on June 18 at home versus the White Sox.
BRING ON BALTIMORE
The Indians will take Thursday off as they travel to Baltimore for a three-game weekend series with the Orioles. Trevor Bauer (7-3, 3.36) will get the start in the opener on Friday night against right-hander Dylan Bundy (2-2, 3.70).
First pitch from Oriole Park at Camden Yards is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.
Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images