Tribe Rocked by Hammel, Two Big KC Scoring Outbursts; Royals 12, Indians 5
Bob Toth | On 03, Jun 2017
Cleveland squandered an early lead and the Kansas City offense piled on with two big innings as the Indians fell to the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Saturday afternoon, 12-5.
What started out as a favorable showing for the Tribe turned disastrous in the latter innings after the team got out to an early three-run lead against Jason Hammel (2-6), who had struggled all season against any team not named the Cleveland Indians. Carlos Carrasco held that lead for the Indians until the fifth, when things took a bad turn and the Royals never looked back.
Carlos Santana started the second inning with another blast at the home of the Royals as he took the first pitch of the frame from Hammel and parked it over the wall in right for an early lead. Jose Ramirez singled after a lineout and after the second out was put on the board via strikeout, Bradley Zimmer drove a 3-2 pitch to right for a two-run shot to put the Indians up three.
Hammel settled in and retired nine straight Indians while his offense struggled to move runners along, despite opportunities in the first, second, and fourth. He struck out the first two of the fifth before a double by Austin Jackson, but a third strikeout ended the inning with a runner in scoring position. The Royals then got to work, getting back-to-back singles from Jorge Bonifacio and Brandon Moss before a two-run double by Whit Merrifield, extending his hitting streak to an AL season-high 18 games, made it a one-run game. Carrasco walked the light-hitting Alex Gordon before getting a popped up bunt from Alcides Escobar for the first out. The missed chance to move the runners up would matter little as Mike Moustakas delivered a double to right, scoring both base runners to put the Royals on top, 4-3, as Carrasco got the hook. Nick Goody came on in relief, but he could not slow the KC bats as Lorenzo Cain homered to left, giving the Royals a six-run inning and a three-run lead.
After retiring six straight, Hammel gave up a two-out single to Yan Gomes in the seventh and was relieved for Mike Minor, who got a liner to left from Zimmer on the first pitch he saw to end the inning.
The Royals then piled on with five more in the seventh against Dan Otero as the Indians defense fell apart. Escobar reached on an error by Jackson in right before a single by Moustakas. A single to center by Cain drove home Escobar. Eric Hosmer followed with the Royals’ third straight hit, pushing Moustakas across to make it 8-3. After a fly out by Salvador Perez, Bonifacio singled to load the bases and manager Terry Francona called upon right-hander Danny Salazar to make his second relief appearance of the season in what had quickly turned into mop up duty. He retired former teammate Moss on a strikeout before Merrifield reached on an error at third by Ramirez that allowed two runs to cross. Another single by Gordon scored one more and made it an 11-3 game.
The Indians got back a pair of runs in the eighth with the game out of reach. Joakim Soria allowed a one-out single by Jason Kipnis, a two-out double by Michael Brantley, and a two-run double by Santana to make it 11-5, but an RBI-double by Perez in the bottom of the inning gave the Royals a dozen runs on the afternoon.
Carrasco (5-3) took the loss after falling apart quickly in the fifth. He worked four and a third, giving up five runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Hammel (2-6) defeated the Tribe for the second time this season, lasting two outs into the seventh. He was charged with three runs on five hits in his quality effort, walking none while striking out seven.
The Indians (28-26) are now just 3-5 against the Royals (24-30) this season. Kansas City has already matched its win total against Cleveland from a year ago, when it was just 5-14 against its AL Central Division rival. Every Royals starter contributed at least one run scored or one run batted in on the afternoon.
Cleveland will look to avoid the sweep on Sunday afternoon in the series finale from Missouri. Trevor Bauer (5-4, 6.00 ERA) will have the task of stopping the Royals in his first start against them this season. He owns a 1-2 record against them in seven career starts. Opposing will be 6’7” left-hander Eric Skoglund, set to make his second Major League start after firing six and two-thirds innings of scoreless, two-hit baseball against the Detroit Tigers in his debut.
Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images