McKenzie burned by Royals' HRs in opener

September 20th, 2021

CLEVELAND -- Maybe Cleveland was due for a game like this against the Royals.

After winning 11 straight against their American League Central rival, dating to the second home game of the season, the Tribe was thoroughly thumped, 7-2, in seven innings in Game 1 of a straight doubleheader on Monday afternoon at Progressive Field.

History was made in the fifth inning, when Royals backstop Salvador Perez’s 46th home run set a new single-season record for a primary catcher, breaking the previous mark of 45 that Hall of Famer Johnny Bench had set way back in 1970. But that was only part of the damage done to Cleveland starter , whose run of seven straight quality starts came to a crashing halt.

“Early in the game my stuff didn’t have the same life that it has,” McKenzie said. “Not executing led to some lofted contact into the stands.”

Though the Royals had a run called back after a replay review of a bang-bang play at first base in the first inning ruled that Kansas City’s Carlos Santana had not beaten the throw to the bag on a would-be RBI single, the visitors more than made up for it in the ensuing innings.

McKenzie surrendered two-run homers to Hunter Dozier and Andrew Benintendi in the third and fourth innings, respectively. The Royals added to their advantage with Dozier’s RBI single in the fourth. And by the time Perez’s historic blast clanged off the bleachers in left, Cleveland was in a 7-0 hole. José Ramírez’s two-run single in the fifth finally got the Tribe on the board against Royals starter Brady Singer, but the club ultimately ran out of innings.

Not only did the Indians’ win streak against the Royals end, but so did the club’s streak of successful steals. When Myles Straw was caught stealing second by Perez in the first inning, it ended the streak at 36, four shy of the record set by the Red Sox in 2013-14.