Royals come alive with six-run seventh to rout Tribe
CLEVELAND -- Capped off by a three-run home run from Kendrys Morales, the Royals struck for six runs in the seventh inning against a trio of Tribe relievers on Tuesday night. The outburst helped Kansas City to an 11-5 victory and a series win over Cleveland at Progressive Field.
"[Morales] is a pretty dynamic addition to the offense," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He does only what he needs to do in those situations, doesn't try to do too much. He's been a great addition."
Indians slugger Brandon Moss belted a three-run home run to put the Royals in a 5-3 hole in the sixth inning, but that lead did not last long for Cleveland. The comeback by Kansas City sent Tribe starter Trevor Bauer (1.80 ERA) to a no-decision after a solid effort in which he yielded three runs on seven hits over six innings.
"Trevor did a great job. The offense did a great job battling and getting us the lead," Indians reliever Scott Atchison said. "From the bullpen end of it, we've just got to be better. We all know we can do it. We've shown it. We've done it plenty of times. We've just got to get on a roll and kind of start building on that and get things turned around."
Two of the runs surrendered by Bauer came via Alex Gordon, who launched a laser of a leadoff home run in the second inning and added an RBI single in the sixth. According to Statcast, Gordon's homer (his third of the season) was measured at 468 feet, marking the longest shot of his career.
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie was charged with four runs on six hits in five innings of a no-decision.
"I just never got in a groove," Guthrie said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Re-Bourn? With two outs in the second inning, Michael Bourn pulled a pitch from Guthrie into right field for a two-run single, scoring Moss and Lonnie Chisenhall. Bourn (recently moved from leadoff to ninth in the lineup due to his offensive struggles) then stole second base. Bourn had two RBIs and one steal in the previous 17 games combined.
Moss vs. Finnegan: After Guthrie gave up a leadoff single to Michael Brantley and walked Carlos Santana to open the sixth, Kansas City turned to lefty Brandon Finnegan to face Moss. Cleveland's right fielder entered Tuesday batting .214 (3-for-14) with no homers and a .286 slugging percentage against lefties this year. Moss defied the percentages with a towering three-run homer to right-center field that put Cleveland ahead, 5-3.
"He had thrown a changeup in, then he went sinker in, then he went sinker away," Moss said. "Once I fouled that inside sinker off and broke my bat, I kind of told myself to get the ball out over the plate a little bit more, or try to and hope he throws one out there, because battling with that sinker in is not very easy." More >
Esky is back? Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar had been mired in a 6-for-41 slump since his 17-game hitting streak (dating to last year) was snapped on April 16. But he came through with a huge two-run double in the seventh, a liner that sliced into the right-field corner and tied the score at 5-5. Escobar had another hit in the eighth.
"I wanted to make sure I didn't try to pull the ball," Escobar said of his game-tying double. "I was trying to stay to the middle and if the pitch was outside, just go with it out there to right field.
Escobar said he doesn't feel like he has been in a slump.
"I think I've been having good swings," he said. "Sometimes maybe I try to do too much. But really, I feel good."
Big blast from Morales: Moments after Escobar tied it, Morales came up with runners on the corners. Morales turned on a fastball from Bryan Shaw and clobbered it over the right-center-field fence for a three-run homer to make it a 9-5 game. The blast measured 420 feet.
"I was just trying to get it in play and get the run from third home," Morales said. "When we get behind, we all just try to get on base and just keep coming back. We don't ever give up. The whole vibe is not to give up."
"I thought it was pretty obvious that he wasn't quite at full strength. You look up at the scoreboard, though, after six and, because we came back, we've got the lead. But I thought it was tough for him."
-- Indians manager Terry Francona, on Bauer, who missed his last start due to food poisoning
"If you feel 100 percent, I was probably feeling about 30. I had no energy. I was lightheaded from the time I started warming up before the game. We needed innings and I missed my last start and put the team in a bad position. I just tried to get through as much as I could."
-- Bauer More >
In the fifth inning, Guthrie threw to first base on a pickoff attempt of Cleveland shortstop Jose Ramirez, who slide in safely just ahead of the tag. The Royals challenged the safe call, but the ruling stood after a review lasting one minute, 58 seconds. Ramirez was then caught trying to steal second base to end the inning.
The Indians also challenged a call in the seventh. Mike Moustakas chopped a pitch to Santana, who flipped the ball to reliever Marc Rzepczynski for a would-be out at first base. However, Rzepczynski missed the base with his foot and Moustakas was deemed safe for an RBI single that scored Escobar. After a review of one minute and 39 seconds, the safe call stood.
Royals: In Wednesday's series finale, right-hander Yordano Ventura (2-1, 4.09 ERA) will make his fifth start this season and look to make it through a game without suffering cramps or being ejected -- both of which have happened twice. Ventura is presently appealing a seven-game suspension.
Indians: In a matchup of two of the hardest throwers in the game, Indians right-hander Danny Salazar (average fastball velocity of 96.3 mph) will take on Ventura (96 mph). Salazar has been dominant through two starts, posting a 2.08 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 13 innings.
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