The Indians came into their first of three games against the Kansas City Royals half a game back in the Wild Card race and an 81-68 record. They left with an 81-69 record, though still a half-game back in the race, following their 7-1 loss to the Royals.
The Royals doubled the Indians hits, posting 14 as opposed to the Tribe’s seven. The Indians seemed to have lost their offensive spark they had in Chicago, striking out a season-high 17 times throughout the game.
Scott Kazmir made his 27th start of the season with an 8-8 record and 4.24 ERA, pitching against James Shields who entered the game with an 11-9 record and 3.38 ERA. Striking out ten batters, Shields kept the Indians score low throughout the game, allowing six hits and only one run during his six innings pitched.
The Royals scored first in the bottom of the first, with Emilio Bonifacio crossing the plate on a single from Billy Butler. Bonifacio singled on a ground ball to Jason Kipnis earlier in the inning, stole second and moved to third on a fly ball to Michael Bourn. Both teams went three up, three down in the second inning, keeping the score at 1-0 Kansas City heading into the third.
Nick Swisher walked with two outs in the top of the third, though Jason Kipnis was called out on strikes to end the inning. Alex Gordon struck out swinging to lead off the bottom of the third for the Royals, thought he reached first on a wild pitch by Kazmir. Eric Hosmer singled to move Gordon to third, and Gordon eventually scored on a single from Salvador Perez, bringing the score to 2-0 Kansas City at the end of the third inning.
Michael Brantley got aboard in the fourth inning with a single and Jason Giambi walked with two outs. However, Yan Gomes struck out swinging to end the inning and strand the runner at first and second.
The Indians scored in the fifth inning when Lonnie Chisenhall hit a lead-off solo home run to right field. Bourn followed with a bunt single, though the next three batters were retired to end the inning.
Asdrubal Cabrera doubled in the top of the sixth and advanced to third on a fly ball hit by Giambi. Cabrera did not score, though, as Gomes flew out to end the inning. Kansas City hit back-to-back triples in the bottom of the sixth inning from Salvador Perez and Lorenzo Cain, bringing the score to 3-1 Kansas City and ending Kazmir’s outing. Matt Albers replaced Kazmir on the mound, delivering a single that scored Cain and raised the Royals lead to 4-1. Nick Hagadone appeared in the sixth inning, as well, replacing Albers after Alcides Escobar reached first on a throwing error by Cabrera. Lough and Escobar advanced on a fly ball hit by Gordon, and Lough scored when Bonifacio reached first on a fielding error by Chisenhall, raising the score to 5-1 Kansas City.
Shields left the game in the seventh inning and was replaced by Wade Davis. Davis immediately struck out Chisenhall and Bourn before walking Swisher. Kipnis flew out to end the inning.
Carlos Carrasco came to the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning, giving up a single to Butler who was thrown out at second on a ground out by Perez. Lough singled, allowing Perez to advance to third, and Rich Hill replaced Carrasco. Hill gave up singles to Mike Moustakas and Escobar, each driving in runs and bringing the score to 7-1 Kansas City.
Although Brantley hit a single off Luke Hochevar in the eighth inning, Santana, Cabrera and Giambi struck out to prevent additional runs for the Tribe. Vinnie Pestano pitched a scoreless eighth, though he allowed two hits.
Tim Collins pitched a scoreless ninth for Kansas City, striking out both Gomes and pinch-hitter Jose Ramirez, with Bourn flying out to end the game.
Shields was named the winning pitcher, with Kazmir taking the loss.
The Indians will play the Royals Tuesday night at 8:10, when Corey Kluber (9-5, 3.55) will face Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura in his Major League debut. Between Triple-A Omaha and Double-A Northwest Arkansas, Ventura is 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA.
Photo: Orlin Wagner/AP Photo