Lindor hits 30th HR, but Tribe remains in funk

Cleveland loads bases in ninth before grounding into game-ending DP

September 3rd, 2018

CLEVELAND -- A collective funk has recently made its way to the home team at Progressive Field.
One day after the Indians were tamed by the visiting Rays' infamous "opener" strategy, the Tribe bats were relatively quiet again Monday, dropping a 5-1 decision to the last-place Royals.
After 's 30th home run of the season with one out in the ninth, Cleveland went on to load the bases. But the Royals turned a game-ending 4-6-3 double play on 's sharply hit grounder.
"It's frustrating, but we'll be fine," said Lindor, who finished with two of the Tribe's four hits. "It's just that point of the season like, late August, early September, when guys are dragging their feet a little bit now. It's not that we're tired, it's just that point of the season, you know? But we've got to go back to playing the Tribe way, we've got to go back to not taking anything for granted."

With the defeat, the Indians have dropped three in a row and eight of 12. The Twins' 4-1 loss to the Astros means the Tribe's Magic Number to clinch the American League Central dropped to 12 games. The Royals, now 31 back, have won six in a row and eight of nine.
Royals starter Jakob Junis (8-12) strung together his second strong outing in a row, silencing the Tribe across seven scoreless innings, and gave up two harmless singles with six strikeouts and no walks.
"He doesn't really overwhelm you with his velocity, but he threw three quality pitches and he could throw them at any time in the count," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He was efficient."

Right-hander (4-5) allowed four runs on three homers, including two to left-hander , and finished with eight strikeouts -- a career best. Plutko scattered seven hits over six innings.
"I feel like I've said the last couple outings there's been a lot of good," Plutko said. "But the long ball has beaten me. I've got to keep the ball in the yard. That's the bottom line."
O'Hearn's two home runs completed a 3-for-4 showing and the first baseman's first multihomer game. The rookie is now 7-for-14 with three homers and three doubles against the Tribe in four games.
"He's really swung the bat well," Francona said. "He's hit the ball all directions with power and he's hurt us."

The Royals added another run in the eighth with a one-out solo homer by off right-hander Jon Edwards, one of the Tribe's two players called up when rosters expanded on Saturday.
Following Lindor's ninth-inning homer, the Tribe loaded the bases to create a last-ditch scoring effort for the second game in a row. The Indians plated three runs in the final frame of Sunday's loss.
After Lindor, lined a single and issued back-to-back walks. Royals manager Ned Yost opted to go to southpaw to attack , a left-handed batter. Francona opted for Diaz, who fired a grounder with a 108-mph exit velocity -- per Statcast™, straight at second baseman Whit Merrifield to end the threat.

With Lindor's home run, he and (37 homers) became the first pair of switch-hitting teammates in Major League history to each have 30-plus homers in a single season.
"Josey became a power hitter, I just became a lucky hitter," Lindor said, grinning. "It's just consistency. … I guess he got tired of doubles and started hitting home runs instead."
"We're certainly not swinging it great the last three or four days. That's just the way the game goes. We'll be OK. It's not a lot of fun going through it, but we'll be OK." -- Francona
Josh Donaldson, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday with a left calf strain, hit a grand slam in his first rehab game for Triple-A Columbus. He finished 1-for-2 with a walk and played six innings at third base. More >

Right-hander Mike Clevinger (10-7, 3.17 ERA) will take the mound in the middle game at Progressive Field for a 7:10 p.m. ET first pitch on Tuesday. Clevinger earned the win after allowing two unearned runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings against the Twins on Thursday. The Royals will counter with left-hander Danny Duffy (8-11, 4.72 ERA).