Today, however, was not that day.
Edinson Volquez, who has always had issues pitching against the Indians, was waxed again. The offense, shut down plenty of times by Danny Salazar in the past, only mustered one run on three hits. It was a frustrating game that the Royals were never really in after the first couple of innings.
It's clear to opponents who the big threats are in the Royals lineup. Eric Hosmer was intentionally walked in the first inning of a scoreless game to get to Kendrys Morales, who struck out on three pitches to end a scoring threat. It's pretty embarrassing when, as an American League team, your designated hitter is the guy that other teams want to face. Morales' production last year still has fans believing that he'll eventually turn it around, but after Friday night's game, he's hitting just .193.
Volquez walked the first two hitters of the game before escaping trouble in the first, but Yan Gomes homered to left to open the scoring against him in the second. Drew Butera answered with his second home run in as many days in the top of the third, but the 1-1 tie was short-lived.
In the bottom half of the third, the Indians roughed up Volquez for three runs. With one out, Jason Kipnis, who is hitting .926 in his career against Kansas City, doubled to center. He went to third on a wild pitch. Francisco Lindor singled him home. Mike Napoli then doubled Lindor home, and Napoli eventually scored on another wild pitch by Volquez.
The Indians added a fifth run when rookie Tyler Naquin hit his first major-league home run in the bottom of the seventh. In the eighth, a sixth run scored on a throwing error by Butera.
Volquez' final line: 6.1 innings, seven hits, five runs, four walks, and five strikeouts. His ERA climbed above 4.00 for the first time in 2016. He threw 115 pitches, and only 67 of them were strikes. He took the loss, dropping his record to 5-5.
Salazar carved up the Royals all evening, holding Kansas City's offense to just three hits. One of them was Alcides Escobar's 1,000th career hit, a single in the fifth inning. Salazar's line: 8.0 innings, three hits, five walks, and nine strikeouts. He earned the win and is now 6-3.
Kansas City is just 1-4 against Cleveland on the year. The Royals are 30-24.
Cleveland now trails the Royals by just 1/2 game in the American League Central. Kansas City will look to get on the board tomorrow when Ian Kennedy takes on Josh Tomlin.