Tribe Rolls as Bats Drub Duffy Early; Indians 10, Royals 3

Did the Tribe Win Last Night? Yes! Carlos Carrasco received some of that elusive run support that has haunted the Indians for the past two seasons as Cleveland defeated a left-handed starter in a 10-3 final over the Kansas City Royals from Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Indians paced Carrasco with four early runs, which would prove to be all the reliable righty would need on the mound, but it did not stop the team from slugging out 13 hits and driving in ten runs for the third time this season. The key to the game may have been the timely and clutch hitting – the Indians were 7-for-13 (.538) with runners in scoring position on the night. All nine Cleveland starters had at least one hit in the contest.

WP: C. Carrasco (4-2)       LP: D. Duffy (2-1)

Key Inning: Top of the 7th. The dangerous Royals lineup had hung around against Carrasco, getting a two-run homer with two outs in the fourth from Kendrys Morales and another run in the sixth when Lorenzo Cain tripled with two outs and scored on a double from Eric Hosmer.

The Indians responded to the dent done to their lead against new reliever Franklin Morales in the seventh. The lefty, on to replace Chris Young after he retired all seven he faced in order in relief of Brandon Finnegan, walked the leadoff hitter Carlos Santana on five pitches. Michael Brantley blooped a single into center and Ryan Raburn doubled over Alex Gordon’s head in left to score Santana with the response run. A double to the right field corner by Brandon Moss scored Brantley and pinch-runner Michael Bourn to make it an 8-3 game. After a strange groundout to the pitcher by Nick Swisher, Moss moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Mike Aviles seeing-eye single to right for the fourth run of the inning.

Player of the Game: Carrasco. The Tribe’s righty earned his fourth win of the season and did his best to keep the damage to a minimum throughout the game.

Carrasco lasted seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts for just his second quality start of the season. His fourth inning leadoff walk to Mike Moustakas came back around to hurt him, as “Moose” scored on Morales’ homer. He retired six straight after the homer until Cain’s triple and Hosmer’s double in the sixth cut the Indians’ lead to 5-3. After a walk to Morales, a groundout to Salvador Perez ended the threat.

Carrasco did some heavy damage to leadoff hitter Gordon, who earned himself a “golden sombrero” with four strikeouts in four trips to the plate against him. He is now just 2-for-21 (.095) against him in his career with ten strikeouts, the fifth-most strikeouts he has against any one pitcher in his career.

They Said It: “We got on the scoreboard early, which is a good way to win,” manager Terry Francona said after the game. “[Carrasco] pitched really effectively against a lineup that feels pretty good about themselves. They came back, like good teams do. He made a bad pitch to Morales that he hit a long way. They had that rally in the sixth and he made some really good pitches to get out of that.”

Analysis: Unlike some of his rotation mates, in particular the poorly supported Corey Kluber, Carrasco has been the recipient of run support, especially in his last four starts. After receiving just three runs in his first two starts, the Indians have scored a half dozen or more in each of his last four, including Wednesday’s ten spot.

The Indians started right away in the first, when Jason Kipnis doubled but was thrown out at the plate on a single to center by Santana. Brantley grounded him over to third and he scored on a wild pitch from starter Danny Duffy.

The Indians opened it up in the second and got Carrasco all of the runs he would need. Swisher singled to left and Aviles was hit by a pitch. A double to deep right by Lonnie Chisenhall knocked in Swisher and Brett Hayes scored Aviles with a single to center. Kipnis capped the scoring with a single to left and Chisenhall crossed with the fourth run of the night.

The Indians added a run on a sacrifice fly from Santana in the fourth before their four-run eruption in the seventh that erased most doubt. The Royals reliever in the inning, Morales, had allowed just six hits in ten innings entering the game. He allowed four hits and a walk and threw a wild pitch in giving up the key four-run inning.

Standings: The loss for the Royals (17-10) dropped the club into a tie with the Detroit Tigers at the top of the American League Central Division at the time of the end of this game. The Indians (10-16) move back within six and a half games of first place and are now 6-8 on the road this season. It marked just their third win in a dozen attempts against left-handed starters this season

Etc.: The Indians announced Wednesday that veteran left-hander Bruce Chen will be called up from Triple-A Columbus on Saturday to start the middle game of the team’s three-game series against the Minnesota Twins. In order to get Chen on the 25- and 40-man rosters, Cleveland will need to make a transaction. The leading areas for reduction include the bullpen and the logjam in the outfield.

Moss added his team-leading fifth home run in the ninth with a solo shot to the fountains. His three runs batted in were a game high and gave him a team-leading 21 on the season.

With three singles in four at bats, Aviles pushed his batting average to .288 on the season. He scored twice on the night.

Up Next: The Indians conclude their quick road trip to Missouri with a 2:10 PM ET start Thursday before heading home for a weekend set with the Minnesota Twins. They look to win their first series since their season opening series win in Houston.

Kluber (0-4, 4.62 ERA) will start for the Tribe, looking to end his long winless drought to begin the 2015 season. He took a loss against the Royals the last time he faced them, but was 2-1 with a 1.15 ERA against them last season. He has ten strikeouts of Gordon in 30 plate appearances, six versus Hosmer in 29 trips to the box, and six against Perez in 21 attempts. Moustakas is a career .440 hitter against him.

Edinson Volquez (2-3, 2.10) will counter for KC. He has a 12.19 career ERA against the Indians in three starts and only six Indians have plate appearances against him. Bourn has a .294 career line against him with a pair of doubles and three RBI. Brantley and Swisher each have a pair of singles off of him.

Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

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