It was a start that Bieber will be able to learn and grow from as he faced the Royals for the first time in his career. He gave up a pair of runs in the first and two more in the second, but survived to give the Indians six innings on the mound while preventing any further damage.
The Indians took an early lead against Danny Duffy, a left-hander who they have beat up on throughout his career. Three straight singles from Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley, and Jose Ramirez drove in the first run of the game. After a strikeout by Edwin Encarnacion, Brandon Guyer walked to load the bases and Yonder Alonso made it a 2-0 lead as he lofted a sacrifice fly to center.
The Royals got a big two-out hit from Lucas Duda to tie the game. With one out in the bottom of the first, Rosell Herrera started his big day at the plate and singled to right-center. Salvador Perez lined out for the second out, but Duda lifted a 3-1 fastball deep to right to tie the score at two.
Kansas City struck again for a pair of two-out runs in the next inning. Alcides Escobar reached on an infield single with one down, but was forced at second for the second out on a grounder by Adalberto Mondesi. Mondesi stole second before a single to right-center by Whit Merrifield to give the Royals a 3-2 lead. Herrera followed with a double to left that knocked home Merrifield to make it a 4-2 game.
Duffy settled down after his tough first inning. He struck out a pair in the second and retired the side with ease in the third. In the fourth, Alonso singled to center with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch, but a pair of groundouts would leave him standing at second. The Indians got another one-out single in the fifth from Lindor, but he would not move beyond first.
Bieber left a one-out base runner at third base in the third after an Emilio Bonifacio double. A perfectly placed line drive to Alonso at first ended the fourth inning with a double play, erasing Mondesi’s one-out single.
In the sixth, things changed in a big way for the Tribe as the offense finally got through against Duffy, with a little help. A leadoff walk by Encarnacion was followed by a poorly timed hit by pitch by Duffy, who plunked Guyer on a 1-2 pitch. A single by Alonso loaded the bases and two pitches later, Gomes unloaded them with a blast to left for the Indians’ eighth grand slam of the season, giving the Tribe a 6-4 lead.
Bieber returned for the bottom of the sixth and retired the side in order before turning the game over to the bullpen.
The Indians threatened to tack on in the seventh and eighth. Guyer reached on a single and an error and Alonso was intentionally walked, but the two-out rally against Kevin McCarthy was squandered on a strikeout by Gomes. In the eighth, the Indians left two more against Brandon Maurer as Erik Gonzalez singled and moved to second on a sacrifice and Lindor was intentionally walked before Brantley and Ramirez each grounded out.
Neil Ramirez pitched a perfect seventh for the Tribe, striking out a pair, but he hit Perez to start the eighth inning and turned the game over to Oliver Perez. He got two outs in the air before Alex Gordon singled to right. Cody Allen entered to face Hunter Dozier, who singled to left. Brantley fired to Lindor, who threw to the plate after the Royals catcher stopped half way down the line and then resumed his path to the plate. Perez was initially called safe, but a challenge by Terry Francona went in favor of the Tribe as Gomes’ swiped the tag on Perez before his hand reached the plate.
The Indians left a base runner on at first with a two-out single in the ninth from Alonso, his third hit of the game. Allen came back to the mound for the four-out save and got Escobar to fly out before Mondesi reached on an infield single and error. Merrifield walked on four straight balls to put two on, but Herrera struck out swinging looking for his fourth hit of the game and Perez flied out to deep left.
Cleveland improved to 47-37 with the win and moved to 20-24 on the road with their third straight victory. Kansas City became the second 60-loss team in the Majors, joining the Baltimore Orioles, after losing their fifth straight. They have won 25 games on the year and are now 22.5 games in back of the Indians in the AL Central.
Bieber survived the early onslaught by the Royals to give the Indians six innings on the mound, doing his job to save the bullpen from extra wear and tear in the final days of their nine-game road trip. He scattered nine hits and a walk over his outing, charged with four runs on the day. The Gomes grand slam put him in position to earn the win, which would be his fourth straight winning decision and the fifth straight time that the Indians won a game that he started.
DUFFY DONE IN BY TRIBE AGAIN
Duffy entered the game with a 2-8 career mark with a 5.06 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP against the Indians. He bounced back nicely after allowing the first two runs of the game in the top of the first, but the grand slam in the sixth turned the tides in favor of the Tribe for good. He was charged with six runs on eight hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts. The loss dropped him to 4-8 on the season.
KENNEDY HEADING TO DL
The Royals announced on Tuesday that right-hander Ian Kennedy, originally scheduled to start for KC in the series finale on Wednesday, would instead be placed on the 10-day disabled list. He had exited his last start with a left oblique strain.
ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD
The Indians and Royals will wrap up their first series in Kansas City this season in an 8:15 PM ET start on Wednesday. The Royals will send rookie righty Trevor Oaks (0-1, 7.45 ERA) to the mound for his second Major League start and fourth overall appearance after recalling him from Triple-A Omaha. The Indians will counter with Trevor Bauer (7-6, 2.45), who will look to secure the sweep and a winning road trip for the Tribe.
Photo: Brian Davidson/Getty Images