Ten-Spot in Seventh Slams Tribe to Easy Victory; Indians 14, Royals 6
Bob Toth | On 28, Sep 2018
The Indians turned a tight 1-0 game into an eleven-run lead with a season-high ten-run inning in the seventh on Friday night on the way to a 14-6 win over the Kansas City Royals from Kauffman Stadium.
For six innings, the Indians and Royals were locked into a pitchers’ duel, with only a Jason Kipnis homer on the scoreboard. That all changed in the seventh inning, as the Indians took their third look at Kansas City right-hander Ian Kennedy and launched pitch after pitch in the frame all over the yard on the way to a season-best performance and the run support that starter Mike Clevinger deserved.
After quiet firsts and a single runner stranded on both sides in the second, Kipnis started the third by going eight pitches deep against Kennedy, sending the last one over the wall in right for a solo homer to put the Indians up, 1-0. Kennedy allowed just one more hit to Michael Brantley in the sixth, after retiring nine in a row until the base knock. Through six, he had allowed just three hits and a walk, but was on the losing end.
Clevinger allowed just two runners to reach over the first six innings, giving up a double to Salvador Perez to lead off the second and a single with two outs in the third as Whit Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 18 games. After that hit, Clevinger retired ten in a row.
Things changed quickly in the seventh as the Indians put up five straight hits to kick start a big inning. Josh Donaldson drove a pitch to the base of the wall in left-center for a leadoff double. He came in to score on a hard-fought single to right by Yonder Alonso. Another single by Melky Cabrera put two on and sent Kennedy to the showers. Tim Hill came on in relief, but the Indians continued their onslaught. Kipnis dropped down a bunt to third to load the bases. Roberto Perez made it 3-0 as all runners moved up 90 feet on his single to shallow left. Francisco Lindor grounded to first, but the throw to the plate from Ryan O’Hearn went to the backstop, allowing both pinch-runners Brandon Barnes and Greg Allen to score. Brantley grounded out for the first out, bringing Ned Yost to the mound for reliever Jake Newberry. He walked Jose Ramirez to reload the bases and gave up a single on the next pitch to Edwin Encarnacion to move another runner, making it 6-0. Donaldson came back to the plate for his second at bat of the inning and on a second straight slider, he slugged a drive deep to left for a grand slam, breaking the game all the way open. Two more doubles, from Adam Rosales and G. Allen, added one more run before the inning finally came to a merciful end.
With a big lead, Clevinger got the first two batters of the inning to extend his streak to 12 straight batters retired before O’Hearn doubled. At just over 100 pitches, Clevinger got the hook, with manager Terry Francona calling on Adam Cimber. He gave up a double to Hunter Dozier to end the shutout (and tag Clevinger with his only earned run of the night), but Brian Goodwin popped out to short.
Cimber got three straight groundouts in the eighth before the Indians added on with a three-run ninth. Yandy Diaz walked off of Burch Smith and moved to second on a single by Rosales. One out later, G. Allen loaded the bases with a single and R. Perez doubled in a pair. An infield single to third by Lindor pushed across Allen with the 14th and final Tribe run of the day.
Cody Allen came on for work in the ninth, but a troubling effort prevailed. He struck out Adalberto Mondesi to start the inning, but Rosell Herrera singled to shallow left-center. S. Perez jumped on the next pitch and drove a single to deep left-center, scoring Herrera all the way from first. Back-to-back walks by O’Hearn and Dozier loaded the bases as C. Allen fell apart and got hooked for Adam Plutko. Two pitches into Plutko’s appearance, Goodwin drove a fastball over the wall in right for a grand slam. Now a 14-6 game, Plutko walked Jorge Bonifacio before getting Cam Gallagher to foul out and Merrifield to strike out.
The Indians won their 90th game of the year with two left to play. The Royals fell to 57-103 in defeat.
Clevinger was unable to get the final out in the seventh, but his performance was still significant. For the first time in his career, he reached the 200-inning mark, landing on that number on the dot. He was charged with a run on three hits in six and two-thirds innings, issuing no walks and striking out five. The runner inherited by Cimber that came around to score pushed Clevinger’s season ERA back over three to 3.02, but he still came away with a career-best 13th victory.
Kennedy was good through the first six innings, but was unable to retire an out before getting the hook in the seventh. He left charged with four runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
Donaldson was one of six different Indians hitters with two-hit games. He drove in four and scored twice. R. Perez drove in three. Rosales, who entered as a pinch-runner in the seventh, managed to score three times and had hits in both plate appearances. Ramirez was the only Indians starter to go without a hit.
The penultimate game of the 2018 regular season schedule will start at 7:15 PM ET from Kansas City. Right-hander Jakob Junis (8-12, 4.42 ERA) will make his sixth straight start against the American League Central in a tough matchup. Right-hander Corey Kluber (20-7, 2.83) will make his final tune-up start before the postseason while looking to continue a perfect 3-0 month of September.
Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images