Royals blank Tribe, keep pace for home field
KANSAS CITY -- Chris Young pitched five innings of no-hit ball in his first start since July 28 and the Royals pecked away with run-scoring hits from Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon for a 3-0 victory over the Indians on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.
Young walked one and was lifted after throwing 68 pitches. The Royals announced after the game that Young had already left the ballpark to be with his family following the death of his father, Charles Young, on Saturday night. The combined no-hit bid was broken up in the seventh when Francisco Lindor beat out a leadoff bunt against reliever Ryan Madson.
"Chris was adamant that he wanted to pitch today," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
The Royals remain tied with Toronto for best record and home-field advantage throughout the American League postseason, but the Blue Jays have the tiebreaker advantage by virtue of a 4-3 edge in the season series. The Indians slipped four games back of the AL's second Wild Card spot as the Astros defeated Texas.
Kansas City's 90th victory enabled the Royals to become just the second team in Major League history to post improved records for six consecutive seasons. The Philadelphia A's from 1919-1925 were the only other club to accomplish that feat under manager Connie Mack.
"It's a testament to [general manager Dayton Moore] and how he has built this organization up," Yost said. "It's a testament to these young players, that they continue to not be satisfied. They continue to strive to do better and be better."
Hosmer had an RBI double in the fourth and Mike Moustakas had an RBI groundout off Cleveland starter Danny Salazar. Gordon's RBI single made it 3-0 in the seventh.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cain Tracks: Lorenzo Cain's speed played a huge part in helping the Royals jump on top. Cain led off a scoreless game in the fourth with a dribbler back toward the mound that he beat out for a single. The long-striding Cain then scored easily on Hosmer's double into the left-field corner.
Pulling Young: Yost didn't let history get in the way of common sense when he pulled the plug on Young's outing . Young, who just moved back into the rotation, hadn't logged more than 53 pitches in an outing since July 28, and averaged only 17.7 pitches in his previous three appearances.
"We were going to take him from 60 to 70 pitches," Yost said. More >
Lindor lays one down: After Young and lefty Danny Duffy combined for six no-hit innings, Lindor decided enough was enough. Facing Madson, the rookie shortstop squared around and bunted the first pitch, tapping the ball up the third-base line. Lindor legged out a single on the play to avoid the first no-hitter against Cleveland since July 27, 2011 (Ervin Santana).
Yost said he didn't have a problem with the bunt being used to break up a no-hitter.
"They are fighting for the Wild Card," Yost said. "I would have been a lot more [ticked] off if there had been a single guy out there throwing a no-hitter. I just wanted to win the game. And they wanted to win the game." More >
Damage control: While Cleveland's offense labored against Young, Salazar did what he could to hold the Royals in check. He allowed three hits in a row to open the fourth inning, but things could have turned a lot uglier than they did. Salazar limited K.C. to two runs in the inning, representing all he surrendered in 5 1/3 innings.
"They were taking a lot of good pitches," Salazar said. "They were very patient today and they're normally really aggressive. I think they hit some good pitches, too. At least that was the only damage."
"I thought it was outstanding. We're not trying to break up a no-hitter. We're trying to win a game. If they have an issue with it -- I saw [Alcides] Escobar saying a few things -- they can take that up with me. I thought it was a very good bunt." -- Indians manager Terry Francona, on Lindor's bunt single
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Michael Brantley's stolen base in the fourth inning gave him 15 steals on the year for the Tribe. With that bit of thievery, he became the first player in Indians history to notch at least 15 steals, 15 homers, 45 doubles and 150 hits in back-to-back seasons. The last Major Leaguer to achieve that feat was Boston's Dustin Pedroia, who did so from 2008-09.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Brantley ended Young's perfect run out of the gates at 11 batters by drawing a walk with two outs in the fourth. The Cleveland outfielder then bolted for second base, but was initially called out by second-base umpire Dana DeMuth. Brantley immediately moved to his feet and urged Francona to challenge the ruling. Francona obliged and, following a replay review lasting one minute and 14 seconds, the out call was overturned.
A confusing play in the top of the seventh led to two challenges (one by Yost and another by the crew chief). With runners on the corners, Lonnie Chisenhall lined out to Madson, who quickly flipped the ball to Hosmer to try to nab Brantley as he dove back to the base. Brantley was called safe and the ruling stood after a managerial challenge and review. After a lengthy delay on the field, in which the Royals players began to walk off and the crowd roared, the umpires also reviewed whether Lindor tagged up at third base before scoring on Madson's errant relay to first base. Replays showed Lindor did not retreat all the way to third, resulting in an inning-ending out that robbed the Tribe of its first run. In total, both reviews required four minutes and 38 seconds. More >
Indians: The Tribe will hand the ball to righty Corey Kluber (8-15, 3.55 ERA) on Monday for the first game of its final homestand of 2015. Kluber will take on the Twins in a 7:10 p.m. ET clash at Progressive Field, where both teams will be aiming to gain ground in the AL Wild Card race during the four-game series.
Royals: Right-hander Yordano Ventura (12-8, 4.40 ERA ) will be making his second start at Wrigley Field this year. He allowed just one run on four hits through seven innings on May 31, but took a no-decision in what turned into a 2-1 loss in 11 innings. Monday's 7:05 p.m. CT game against the Cubs is a makeup of a May 30 rainout.
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