CLEVELAND -- When the ball left Jason Kipnis' bat in the eighth inning on Saturday evening, the Indians' second baseman thought he had a double off the left-field wall. After all, he knows the feel of his swing and how Progressive Field plays.Instead of heading to second, Kipnis watched his
CLEVELAND -- When the ball left Jason Kipnis' bat in the eighth inning on Saturday evening, the Indians' second baseman thought he had a double off the left-field wall. After all, he knows the feel of his swing and how Progressive Field plays.
Instead of heading to second, Kipnis watched his line drive die in the cold, swirling wind and drop into the glove of a leaping Jonathan Jay. That was how things went for the Tribe's frigid lineup throughout a 1-0 loss to the Royals, who broke through only once, which was plenty to derail Trevor Bauer's stellar start.
"It's not ideal. It's not an ideal situation to be playing in 30-degree weather," Kipnis said. "But, they're playing in it, too. Neither offense did great, but they did enough. It just stinks to waste such a good pitching effort by Trevor."
Bauer was strong over eight innings in which the right-hander struck out seven, walked two and scattered three hits. Bauer's only blemish arrived in the seventh, when the pitcher was struggling to get warm in the allotted time. His first pitch of the inning was an elevated 91-mph fastball that Lucas Duda yanked over the wall in right for a home run.
It was a frustrating turn of events for Bauer.
"I tried to get loose," Bauer said. "We have only a certain amount of time between innings, it's hard to get loose sometimes, especially in conditions like that. It's not safe, but, whatever."
Saturday's game came with an announced temperature of 34 degrees, which fell one degree shy of setting the record for the coldest regular-season game in Progressive Field history. Before the game even began, it was a safe bet that the teams -- with players wearing ski masks and hand warmers -- would be in for a low-scoring affair.
Bauer and Royals starter Ian Kennedy capitalized on the environment.
Bauer held Kansas City without a hit through the first four innings and limited its lineup to a 1-for-19 showing leading up to Duda's home run. Kennedy lowered his season ERA to 0.75 with his six shutout innings, which included eight strikeouts, no walks and four hits allowed.
Cleveland only had one runner move into scoring position against Kennedy -- Francisco Lindor doubled and stole third in the sixth -- but Kennedy sidestepped damage en route to his first win of the year.
"I thought [Kennedy] worked quick," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He pounded the zone again, he changed speeds really well and it's obviously not conducive to hitting weather, right now -- for both teams. The pitcher is probably the only one moving around and feeling decent about himself."
The Indians are hitting .161 with a .530 OPS through eight games. With six hits on Saturday, it marked the first time the Indians have started a season with eight games of seven hits or fewer.
"It's hard, man," Indians catcher Roberto Perez said of hitting in the cold climate. "Especially because we got some hard-hit balls that the wind was blowing in. We've just got to continue to be aggressive and take great at-bats. I'm not worried about our team. We've just got to come in day in, day out and compete."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bauer bests Butera:Alcides Escobar snapped Kansas City's 0-for-14 start to the evening with a two-out single into right field in the fifth, igniting a brief rally for the Royals. Bauer wound up with runners on second and third against Andrew Butera, who fought back from an 0-2 hole to work the count full. Bauer then fired a low-and-outside two-seamer with late run and Perez presented the pitch well enough to net a called third strike from home-plate umpire Will Little. Butera argued the call to no avail, and Bauer walked off the mound with a great escape.
"Man, I take a lot of pride in my receiving behind the plate," Perez said. "That probably could've changed the whole game. It was tough to see by the way -- with those shadows. So, that was really game-changing. It could've been bases loaded with [Jon] Jay coming up, but I got that pitch and we were able to get out of the inning."
Boyer holds off Tribe: The Indians threatened to tie it in the seventh off Royals reliever Blaine Boyer. After two quick outs, Boyer got Rajai Davis down 0-2, but gave up a single to right. After a stolen base and a throwing error put Davis on third, Boyer walked Perez on a close 3-2 call. Bradley Zimmer followed with a liner right to first baseman Cheslor Cuthbert to preserve Kansas City's lead.
"Pitched him right where we were playing him," Boyer said with a smile.
"You can see when guys are scuffling. It's not a huge scuffle right now. Guys are hitting some balls hard. They're not swinging at pitches in the dirt. Their having good at-bats. It's just stuff's not falling or they're just getting under some stuff, so I think it won't be too long before you see a bunch of guys putting it together." -- Kipnis, on the Tribe offense
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• When Bauer struck out Whit Merrifield in the fourth inning, it was Merrifield's first strikeout since Sept. 25, a span of 50 plate appearances -- it had been the longest active streak in the Major Leagues.
• Perez made a throwing error while trying to nab Escobar on a steal of second in the fifth inning, marking the first error of the year for the Indians. It marked the first time since at least 1908 that Cleveland opened a season with seven straight error-free games.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
In the home half of the fifth, Davis sent a chopper to second baseman Ryan Goins, who fielded and flipped the ball to first in one motion with his glove. The speedy Davis was called out on the bang-bang play, but the Indians challenged the ruling. After a replay review lasting one minute and 41 seconds, the out call stood.
Indians right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall made three catches in the outfield in the first two innings, but then left the game before batting in the second. He was replaced by Davis. Chisenhall departed with a right calf injury and is likely headed to the disabled list, according to Francona. More >>
Right-hander Mike Clevinger is scheduled to take the mound at 1:10 p.m. ET Sunday, when the Indians host the Royals in a divisional contest at Progressive Field. In his 2018 debut on Monday, Clevinger held the Angels scoreless over 5 1/3 innings. For the Royals, right-hander Jason Hammel takes the mound after giving up seven hits and five runs over five innings in a 6-1 loss to Detroit on Monday.
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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.