Indians Complete Third Straight Shutout in Royal Rout; Indians 12, Royals 0

A three-run first inning and a nine-run second provided more than enough support for Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco, who combined with two relievers to complete the Indians’ third straight shutout of Kansas City over the weekend with a 12-0 rout of the Royals on Sunday afternoon.

The Indians improved to a season-best 17 games over the .500 mark at 73-56 with their fourth straight win. The Tribe’s shutout of the Royals was their sixth over Kansas City this season and increased their Major League lead in scoreless ball games to 15. The Royals dropped back below even on the season at 64-65 and now trail the Tribe by nine games in the American League Central Division.

Cleveland did its damage early against Kansas City rookie Eric Skoglund and coasted to a big win to conclude its homestand with a 5-2 mark while setting a new month-high for the season with its 16th win in August (the previous best was 15, done in both June and July), with three games left to play in the month.

After an easy first for Carrasco, Francisco Lindor started the Indians’ first trips to the plate against the 6’7” southpaw Skoglund with a walk and moved up to second on a single through the left side of the infield by Austin Jackson. A double to left by Jose Ramirez put the Indians up, 1-0. Edwin Encarnacion was contained to the field of play, but his grounder to second scored Jackson to make it 2-0. After a foul out by Carlos Santana, Brandon Guyer drove home the third run of the inning with a single, scoring Ramirez to extend the lead to three runs. Yandy Diaz would reach on a single before Bradley Zimmer struck out swinging, but Carrasco had a 3-0 lead to work with.

Gomes - Jason Miller/Getty Images
Gomes – Jason Miller/Getty Images

Carrasco would strike out a par in the second after a leadoff double by Melky Cabrera and his offense would get back to work, just an inning after sending eight men to the plate.

Yan Gomes started things off with a second-pitch single to left. Lindor fouled off several pitches before hitting his 24th homer of the season with a shot to the bleachers in left. Jackson doubled before Ramirez was retired on a pop up to second for the first out. Encarnacion drew a five-pitch walk, bringing Ned Yost out of the Royals dugout for reliever Onelki Garcia. In a brutal welcome-back-to-the-Majors moment for the 28-year-old Cuban left-hander (who had not pitched at baseball’s top level since his debut season in 2013), Santana sent his second pitch off of the foul pole in left for a three-run home run, his 20th of the season, to make it an 8-0 Indians edge.

The inning was far from over, however, as Guyer reached on an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error by Whit Merrifield. Diaz walked and Zimmer reached on another infield single to second to load the bases for the tenth man to bat in the inning, Gomes. The Tribe backstop unloaded the bases quickly, sending an 0-1 pitch onto the Home Run Porch for a grand slam, erasing what little doubt could have been left in the blowout. Lindor reached on a third infield single at Merrifield before Jackson, the 12th man to bat, grounded into a double play to end the bludgeoning in a nine-run inning for the Tribe.

The Indians would threaten to tack on a couple of times the rest of the afternoon, stranding a pair of two-out walks in the third and leaving two in scoring position in the eighth after a leadoff single by Roberto Perez and a two-out double by Diaz were negated by a Zimmer strikeout against Kelvin Herrera.

With a monstrous mountain to climb, the Royals continued their weekend trend of not scoring. Carrasco struck out a pair around a two-out infield single to short by Merrifield in the third. A leadoff single by Eric Hosmer in the fourth was erased two pitches later on a double play grounder. He struck out three more in the sixth, working around a two-out single by Lorenzo Cain. He had his most difficult inning in his last one for the afternoon in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single to Cabrera and a one-out single to Cheslor Cuthbert before a force out at second and a pop up to short ended that threat.

Craig Breslow, who was added to the roster by the Indians on Saturday afternoon, made his 2017 Indians debut a good one, striking out the first two men that he faced before getting Jorge Bonifacio to fly to center in an easy eighth. Zach McAllister pitched the ninth, getting two fly outs and a painful grounder to first for the second out as he was run into by Cabrera trying to reach base safely.

Carrasco - Jason Miller/Getty Images
Carrasco – Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Indians outscored the Royals 20-0 in the three-game series. The three consecutive shutouts by the Tribe marked the first time that the club had accomplished that feat since 1956. For the Royals, they went 27 innings against the Tribe without scoring a run to extend their scoreless streak to 34 innings, dating back to the second inning of their game on Thursday with the Colorado Rockies.

Carrasco (13-6, 3.78 ERA) moved back into a tie for the team lead in pitcher wins with Trevor Bauer behind seven innings of six-hit baseball. He needed just 83 pitches to clear 21 outs and had thrown just 21 balls on the afternoon when he left the game with the win long since secured. He struck out eight Royals batters in his quality effort to get him back in the win column after a tough start against Boston his last time out.

Skoglund (1-2, 10.64) was shelled in his spot start, filling in on late notice after the Royals placed left-handed starter Danny Duffy on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday afternoon. Skoglund was charged with seven runs on seven hits with two walks and just one strikeout in one and one-third innings of work. Garcia, who was making his season debut and first appearance since working with the Los Angeles Dodgers back in 2013, saved the bullpen by throwing five and two-thirds innings in relief, but he allowed another five runs on eight hits with four walks and two strikeouts in the process and made a starter’s contribution, in terms of pitch count, throwing 96 pitches on the afternoon.

With the series sweep complete, the Indians will hit the road for another long road trip. The first leg of the three-city tour will bring the Tribe to the Bronx, where they will take on the New York Yankees. The Royals will return home and try to get back on the right track as they host the Tampa Bay Rays.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

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