KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Indian hitters snatched a 3-3 draw in the seventh inning on Monday and scored five times at home run by Eddie Rosario and Josh Naylor, and Cleveland’s typically flawless bullpen was forced to hang on for an 8-6 win over first-place Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
After struggling to come up with a clutch hit during the night, all five of Cleveland’s races came in seventh with two outs in the inning.
Rosario launched a Jakob Junis cutter 383 feet into the right field positions with Amed Rosario and José Ramírez on board for his third home run of the year. Following a Harold Ramirez single, Naylor roped a Junis fastball into the Royals bullpen for a five-run Cleveland advantage. Manager Terry Francona said it was good for Naylor to see his approach at the plate pay off with some results.
“He has felt it just because he had not had the RBIs, but when he stays in the strike zone, he will hurt something,”
However, no lead is really safe against Kansas City’s lineup, as Indians soon discovered at the bottom of the inning.
Bryan Shaw took over for starter Aaron Civale in the seventh and handed over his first earned race since April 9 against Detroit. James Karinchak followed Shaw to the mound and served a two-run home run to Hunter Dozier, who cut Cleveland’s five-run lead down to two. But Karinchak beat Carlos Santana for the third time in four days with a runner at base in the eighth, and Emmanuel Clase worked a goalless ninth to his sixth save in seven chances.
Shaw (1-0) took his first win since September 29, 2019 with Colorado. Civilians survived some shaky defense and a strike zone that was at times unclear to go 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with two strikes and three walks. Francona said the Civale did not give in to the Kansas City hitters and gave his team a chance to win.
“Again, it’s one of those games where we do not score a lot of runs, but because he suddenly kept us in the game when we do (score), they are meaningful,” said Francona. “It’s a compliment to a young child.”
Cleveland’s defense looked out of place from the start with shortstop Amed Rosario abusing a routine grounding by Dozier, who should have gotten Civale out of the second with a pitch in the low 30s.
Rosario’s misplay was not a mistake, but it extended the incapacity of Civale by another 10 lanes. Jarrod Dyson pointed up the middle and Nicky Lopez left before Rosario redeemed himself with a quick throw on a founder behind second to get the fast Whit Merrifield to the final out of the second.
In the eighth inning, Andrés Giménez replaced Rosario at shortstop and made a mistake on a ground ball by Andrew Benintendi that allowed the tie-break to get to the plate in Carlos Santana.
Kansas City broke through against Civale in the third after a lead-walk to Benintendi and Santana’s base hit. Benintendi moved to third place on a field ballot of cards by Salvador Perez and scored on Jorge Soler’s sacrificial flight to center.
Cleveland responded in the fourth with a Franmil Reyes leadoff double against the Kansas City rookie, left-handed Daniel Lynch and an RBI double by Naylor that tied at 1-1.
Dozier was on board with a lead triple in the fourth as Whit Merrifield smashed a home run to the seats on the left. It was Merrifield’s fourth homer and his first since April 5 in Cleveland, a span of 91 bats.
But the Indians reunited in the fifth on Reyes’ two-out, two-run single off Royals reliever Scott Barlow. Cesar Hernandez pulled a leadoff walk and Jose Ramirez singled for an Amed Rosario field option. Rosario paid the price after sticking the ground out when Merrifield’s throw threw a glance at Santana’s glove and smashed the helmet in the face.
Reyes’ RBI single blisters out of the bat at 112.3 mph, according to Statcast. It gave him his 14th hit in his last 10 games and his first two RBIs since the birth of his son, Framian, on May 1st. Francona said there is always concern about a player’s timing when he is away for any kind of leave, but Reyes looked as if he had not missed a stroke.
“Even in his first stroke, he seemed to have pretty good timing,” Francona said. “He came in early today and hit. I think he was excited enough where he probably was not tired. ”
Lynch, who made his major league debut, allowed three runs on four hits and knocked out three while going four in 4 2/3 innings.
Civale struck in the sixth after battling through some long innings early. He left with two out and two runners at base after a single by Lopez. Shaw went to Merrifield but got Benintendi on a plot out to escape injury.
Next: The series continues on Tuesday as Indian rookie left-hander Sam Hentges (1-0, 4.76) starts his first major league start against Royal left-winger Mike Minor (2-1, 5.26). Hentges got its first major league win in relief against the Yankees on April 25th. First pitch from Kauffman Stadium is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. The game airs on Bally Sports Great Lakes, WTAM 1100 AM, WMMS 100.7 FM and Indians Radio Network.
New Indian face masks for sale: Here you can purchase Cleveland Indian-themed coronavirus-protected facial coatings, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All MLB proceeds donated to charity.
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