Last year, the Royals were a terrible, horrible, no-good 1-9 at Progressive Field. It took one of the best comebacks of the season, but they were able to get off the mat on Friday night, beating the Indians 6-4.
It’s about time.
Royals starter Ian Kennedy, who entered Friday with an 0-4 record in seven starts, struggled with command early. The Indians broke a scoreless tie in the second inning when Jose Ramirez homered to right.
Things worsened in the third inning when Kennedy walked the first two Indians he faced. Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley then picked up RBIs on singles, while a third run scored on Carlos Santana’s groundout.
With Cleveland up 4-0, the Royals appeared done, especially considering Ian Kennedy’s recent track of run support. In his first seven starts of 2017, the Royals scored just 14 runs to back their starter. But the Kansas City offense eventually came around, and it scored runs by continuing its recent power surge.
In the fourth, Brandon Moss launched a three-run bomb with two outs to close the gap. It’s just the third time all year the Royals have had a three-run homer, and it came at the perfect time. For Moss, it was his ninth of the year.
The Royals pulled even in the fifth on their second home run of the night, a solo shot by Mike Moustakas. In what is being called “Chasing Balboni,” Moustakas hit his 12th homer in 42 games. This shot tied the game at four.
The matchup then became a clash of the bullpens, as both team kept the score deadlocked at four until the later innings. Mike Minor continued his great season by throwing a scoreless sixth and seventh frame. While he was holding down the Cleveland offense, the Indians were getting ready to unleash their big bullpen arms, but the Royals were waiting.
Lorenzo Cain led off the eighth frame with a single off Bryan Shaw. Terry Francona called on super reliever Andrew Miller to keep Kansas City at bay, but after Eric Hosmer reached on an error, the Royals had first and third with none out. One batter later, Jorge Bonifacio continued his ridiculous May by launching a two-run double into the left-center gap. The jaw-dropping liner doubled Miller’s ERA from 0.36 to 0.72, and it gave the Royals a 6-4 lead, one they would not relinquish.
Joakim Soria held down the eighth inning, barely, to escape with the lead. Kelvin Herrera worked the ninth to earn save #10.
Minor (2-1) got the win. Shaw (1-1) is the loser.
Kennedy’s final line: 5.0 innings, three hits, four runs, two walks, and four strikeouts. He needed 88 pitches to get 15 outs. He was definitely better than last weekend in Minnesota, but he still doesn’t appear quite right.
Oh, and by the way, triple screw that drum guy. I’m aware that everybody on Royals Twitter hates that guy and his stupid obnoxious drum, but I hate that thing more than any of you can even ponder. Throw that piece of garbage into Lake Eerie and find a gimmick that people actually like.
The Royals are 20-27. They’re 2-2 on the year against the Indians.
Tomorrow: it’s afternoon baseball in Cleveland, as Jason Vargas and Danny Salazar will duel at 3:15 pm CDT. The Royals will look to win their first series in Cleveland since July 2015.
and yes I know it’s a picture of Moustakas in the article when it says Bonifacio in the header, you don’t have to tweet at me to let me know of this.