The game started fortuitously for the Royals. Alcides Escobar ambushed his way aboard, reaching on a Jason Kipnis error. Mike Moustakas singled and Lorenzo Cain walked. 18 pitches and the based loaded with nobody out.
Eric Hosmer went 6 pitches deep but his AB ended with a check swing strike three in the dirt. Arguing with umpire Bill Welke ended his and Ned Yost's days.
Salvador Perez hit a sacrifice fly to plate a run but it felt like a bit of a let down to only get 1 run in a 33 pitch first inning against a pitcher with a 5.55 ERA coming in and first inning troubles.
Of course, Francisco Lindor tied it up in the bottom of the 1st with his 11th home run of the year.
The Indians took the lead in the 3rd when the speedy and diminutive Daniel Robertson* got a bunt single. On the first strike he bunted foul but Moose didn't come in on him so he tried it again on a 1-1 count and got on. He took second on a wild pitch and scored on a Kipnis RBI single.
*(I’m not buying his listed 5’8” height)
Jason Vargas teetered on the edge all day but those were the only runs he gave up. He loaded the bases in the fourth and Kipnis just missed a grand slam, foul by inches. In the fifth, he stranded runners at 1st and 3rd. His 6th inning: walk, double play, single, shower. But the defense picked him up. Cheslor Cuthbert, at first for Hosmer, had some nice scoops on good plays by Escobar and Moustakas.
Similarly, the Royals were a little snake bit today. In the third, Cain and Perez each missed RBI doubles by inches and an Alex Gordon scorcher in the 4th was turned into a double play.
Top 6, Jorge Bonifacio continued his hot hitting with a one out single that Brantley overplayed into a double. Brandon Moss and Whit Merrifield worked walks. Those were the 4th and 5th on the day issued by Indians starter Danny Salazar and they would be his last.
Indians manager Terry Francona decided to play the matchups against a pair of .175 hitters. He signaled for the lefty Boone Logan to face Alex Gordon. And Lo, Danger Ox! He smoked a single up the middle, tying the game. Francona then motioned for righty Nick Goody against Escobar. Esky doubled to give the Royals a 4-2 lead. While those averages don’t look like the 2014-2015 Royals, it had a bit of that “keep the line moving” feel.
Matt Strahm helped bail out Vargas in the 6th while Peter Moylan got Strahm out of his troubles in the 7th. Joakim Soria continued his good season with a 1-2-3 8th. After he got the first out of the inning, the broadcast mentioned that he had retired the leadoff hitter in 19 of his 21 appearances this year. Goody pitched the 7th and Dan Otero (no relation to otters) pitched a scoreless 8th for the Indians.
I was going to add “and Shawn Armstrong pitched a scoreless 9th to that last paragraph, but nope. Moustakas is officially on Balboni watch. He hit his 13th home run of the year and it’s not even Memorial Day (though I can see how the jerseys might be confusing). In the post-game interview with Moose, Fox mentioned he saw 15 pitches and swung at 13 of them en route to going 3 for 4.
Kelvin Herrera struck out Bradley Zimmer and Kipnis to start the 9th. Lindor, of course, doubled. But then Brantley grounded out weakly to end the game.
Vargas gets the win, going to 6-3. Salazar takes the loss and is now 3-5. Herrera gets his 11th save on the year. Kansas City goes for the sweep tomorrow afternoon at 12:10pm. It's Danny Duffy Day. He's opposed to Josh Tomlin. The Royals are 6.5 back of the Central-leading Twins but only 3.5 behind the Indians and within a game and a half of both the White Sox and Tigers, pending the result of the second game of their doubleheader today.
Not really related to the Royals portion of the game but significant to baseball: The Indians unveiled a statue of Frank Robinson before the game to honor the Hall of Famer and first African American manager. His #20 was retired by the team. Hank Aaron and Sharon Robinson, daughter of Jackie, were on hand for the ceremony.