KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Jason Hammel fired 6 2/3 strong innings and Lorenzo Cain capped a six-run fifth inning with a long home run as the Royals rallied for a 12-5 victory over the Indians on Saturday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
The 12 runs were a season high for the Royals, who batted around twice.
Hammel gave up three runs in the second inning when Carlos Santana belted his seventh home run and rookie Bradley Zimmer hit his third home run, a two-run shot. But Hammel shut down the Indians from there, retiring 15 of the final 17 batters he faced. He walked none and struck out seven.
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"After the second inning he just kept getting better and better," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "His pitches just kept getting sharper and sharper."
Added Hammel, "I think I'm most proud of the zero walks. That's been my problem this year."
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco was in complete control through four innings before the six-run fifth. He went 4 1/3 innings and gave up five hits and five runs. He walked two and struck out three.
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"We have to get a little rest and come back and play a lot better because that wasn't close to good enough," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield extended his career-high hitting streak to 18 games with a two-run double in the fifth. It's the longest active hitting streak in the Major Leagues and the longest by a Royal since Eric Hosmer's 18-game streak last season.
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"That was a big moment in the game," Merrifield said. "It seemed once we got going, we were able to pour it on."
The Indians credited Hammel for his ability to regroup following the third-inning homers.
"It looked like maybe we had them on the ropes, but instead we let him settle in," Francona said. "You look up four innings later and he put up a bunch of zeros. He started using his breaking ball and elevated his fastball at times past our barrel. He got a lot of chase on the breaking ball."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Six-run outburst: Carrasco seemed poised to cruise to victory after four dominant innings, but the Royals jumped him in the fifth. Jorge Bonifacio and Brandon Moss opened with singles before Merrifield slashed his two-run double to right-center. Alex Gordon coaxed a walk, and one out later, Mike Moustakas reached out and pulled a two-run double into the right-field corner, ending Carrasco's day. Right-hander Nicholas Goody came in and served up a two-run home run to Cain, his third long ball. Statcast™ projected Cain's homer would have traveled 429 feet.
"I don't think [Carrasco] was much different," Merrifield said. "I think we just started having better approaches."
Staying Hot: Zimmer continues to impress since his Major League debut on May 16. The center fielder put the Indians in good position with a two-run homer in the second that gave Cleveland a 3-0 lead with the usually reliable Carrasco on the mound. Zimmer's blast carried an estimated 420 feet, per Statcast™, to right-center field, which marked his longest batted ball of the season.
"Zim put a really good swing on it," Francona said.
"We're still in this thing. Everybody knows that. Everybody in our locker room feels like we're in this." -- Yost, on his 24-30 Royals
ROYALS GET TO GOODY
When Cain capped a six-run rally with his two-run homer off Goody in the fifth, it snapped a season-opening string of 17 outings in which Goody hadn't allowed an earned run. Goody entered the game having allowed only one unearned run in 20 1/3 innings.
"He hung a breaking ball," Francona said. "I don't know that anybody can go through the year without giving up runs. He has been so good. He just left a breaking ball up."
Indians: Right-hander Trevor Bauer (5-4, 6.00 ERA) gets the start for the Tribe in the series finale at 2:15 p.m. ET at Kauffman Stadium. Bauer struck out a career-high 14 batters in his last start, working seven innings and allowing three runs in a 9-4 victory over Oakland.
Royals: Left-hander Eric Skoglund (1-0, 0.00 ERA) gets the start for the Royals in the series finale Sunday at 1:15 p.m CT against the Tribe. In his Major League debut on Tuesday, he gave up three hits and no runs while striking out five over 6 1/3 innings in a 1-0 win over Detroit.
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