KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The Indian hitters broke a 3-3 draw in the seventh inning Monday, scoring five times on the Eddie Rosario and Josh Naylor home runs, and the generally impeccable Cleveland reliever box was forced to hang on for an 8-6 first-place win over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
After struggling to find a clutch shot throughout the night, Cleveland’s five points in the seventh came with two strikeouts in the inning.
Rosario threw a Jakob Junis 383-foot cutter into the right field seats with Amed Rosario and José Ramírez on board for his third tour of the year. After a single Harold Ramirez, Naylor roped a Junis fastball into the Royals’ box for a five-point advantage in Cleveland. Manager Terry Francona said it was good for Naylor to see his approach to plate pay off with some results.
“He felt it just because he hadn’t had an RBI, but when he stays in the strike zone he’s going to do damage,” Francona said.
However, no lead is really secure against the Kansas City roster, as the Indian relievers quickly discovered at the bottom of the set.
Bryan Shaw succeeded starter Aaron Civale in seventh place and abandoned his deserved first set since April 9 against Detroit. James Karinchak followed Shaw to the mound and served a two-run home run for Hunter Dozier who reduced Cleveland’s five-point lead to two. But Karinchak, pitcher for the third time in four days, struck out Carlos Santana with a runner on bases in the eighth and Emmanuel Clase worked a ninth goalless for his sixth save on seven occasions.
Shaw (1-0) earned his first victory since September 29, 2019 with Colorado. Civale survived a fragile defense and a hitting area that was at times nebulous to complete 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and three marches. Francona said Civale didn’t give in to the Kansas City hitters and gave his team a chance to win.
“Again, this is one of those games where we don’t score a lot of points, but because it kept us in the game all of a sudden when we (score) they are significant,” Francona said. “It’s a compliment to a young child.”
Cleveland’s defense looked shabby from the start with shortstop Amed Rosario mishandling a routine Dozier grounder who should have knocked Civale out of the second with a total of ground within 30 seconds .
Rosario’s poor play wasn’t a mistake, but he extended the inning for Civale by 10 more shots. Jarrod Dyson picked the middle and Nicky Lopez walked before Rosario redeemed himself with a quick throw to a Grounder behind second to bring out the fast Whit Merrifield for the second final.
In the eighth inning, Andrés Giménez replaced Rosario at shortstop and made a mistake on a ground ball from Andrew Benintendi that allowed the equalizer to come home to Carlos Santana.
Kansas City broke through Civale in the third after a first run to Benintendi and Santana’s goal. Benintendi moved up to third place on the field of choice of a Salvador Perez defender and scored on the sacrifice of Jorge Soler in the center.
Cleveland responded in fourth with a starting brace from Franmil Reyes against Kansas City rookie southpaw Daniel Lynch and an RBI brace by Naylor who tied the score at 1-1.
Dozier was on board with a starting triple in the fourth when Whit Merrifield crashed a left-seat homerun. It was Merrifield’s fourth home run and his first since April 5 at Cleveland, batting 91.
But the Indians rallied again in fifth on Reyes’ two-out, two-point single over Royals reliever Scott Barlow. Cesar Hernandez drew and Jose Ramirez made a single after defender Amed Rosario’s preferred pitch. Rosario paid the price after dismissing the soloist as Merrifield’s throw glanced at Santana’s glove and smashed his helmet in the face.
Reyes’ lone RBI slammed right off the bat at 112.3 mph according to Statcast. This gave him his 14th shot in his last 10 games and his first two RBIs since the birth of his son, Framian, on May 1. as if he hadn’t missed a beat.
“Even in his first game at bat he looked like he had good timing,” said Francona. “He arrived early today and hit. I think he was pretty excited where he probably wasn’t tired.
Lynch, who was making his major league debut, allowed three runs on four hits and struck out three while walking four in 4 2/3 innings.
Civale threw in the sixth after fighting over long innings early on. He started with two strikeouts and two runners on base after a Lopez single. Shaw stepped on Merrifield but first put Benintendi on ground to escape the damage.
Following: The streak continues on Tuesday as Indians rookie southpaw Sam Hentges (1-0, 4.76) will make his first major league start against Royals left-hander Mike Minor (2-1, 5.26). Hentges won their first major league victory in relief against the Yankees on April 25. The first pitch from Kauffman Stadium is scheduled for 8:10 pm The game will be broadcast on Bally Sports Great Lakes, WTAM 1100 AM, WMMS 100.7 FM and the Indians radio network.
New Indian masks for sale: Here’s where you can purchase Cleveland Indian-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All MLB profits are donated to charity.
More Indian coverage
Should we really consider a 3-time MVP finalist like José Ramírez as an underdog?
Here’s how Zach Plesac got back on track for the Cleveland Indians vs. the White Sox
On the 85% vaccination rate and 4 more things about the Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians’ Roberto Perez has an undisplaced fracture of the ring finger on his right hand
Will the April showers help or hurt the Cleveland Indians? Baseball week
Anne Feller, wife of Cleveland Indian legend Bob Feller, dies at 91