CLEVELAND -- A grand slam is the exclamation point in a thrilling win on many occasions, and it could have been for the Indians on Friday night.It turned out to be anything but.Indians left fielder Michael Brantley hit his second grand slam of the season to cap a six-run fourth
CLEVELAND -- A grand slam is the exclamation point in a thrilling win on many occasions, and it could have been for the Indians on Friday night.
It turned out to be anything but.
Indians left fielder Michael Brantley hit his second grand slam of the season to cap a six-run fourth inning against the Royals, but a late two-run homer by Salvador Perez off Andrew Miller, who had just come off the disabled list prior to the game, became the deciding factor in the Tribe's 10-9 loss at Progressive Field.
• Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
Brantley sent a 2-2 pitch from Royals starter Jason Hammel a projected 374 feet, according to Statcast™, into the stands in left-center field, scoring Tyler Naquin, Roberto Perez and Francisco Lindor. The homer ended Hammel's night after 3 2/3 innings. Hammel allowed nine runs on six hits. He also gave up a pair of homers in the first.
The home run was Brantley's fourth. Brantley also hit a grand slam eight games ago on May 1, against the Rangers, for the only two slams of his career. By doing so, he became the first Indians player to hit two grand slams in the same month since Travis Hafner did it in July 2006.
Tribe manager Terry Francona made a change to the starting lineup for the series opener against the Royals, and it paid immediate dividends.
Jose Ramirez and Yonder Alonso launched home runs off Hammel in a three-run first inning. Ramirez opened the scoring with a two-run shot and Alonso went deep two batters later.
According to Statcast™, Ramirez's homer traveled a projected 397 feet to right-center. Alonso's homer to left-center had a projected distance of 385 feet.
Francona moved Brantley, who singled to right just before Ramirez's jack, to the two-hole in the lineup, while Jason Kipnis dropped down to the No. 6 spot. Brantley finished 2-for-5, while Kipnis went 0-for-3.
Francona admitted before the game that the move may only be temporary.
"Me and Kip were talking in Milwaukee," Francona said. "It's something we kind of came to the conclusion together. That second spot is such an important part of the order, just because it's not just hitting.
"I think Brantley's certainly one guy that, because he hits the ball through the hole so well, would be the logical choice. But, I wanted to talk to him, too. So, I talked to both guys, and me and Kip talked for a while the other day. We kind of did it together. I thought we did a good job, because we want to get him going. And what's the best way? Sometimes it's to maybe drop you down a little bit and let him just focus on hitting -- not so much moving runners and things like that."
Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.