The month of April has been a depressing ride for the Kansas City Royals, who came in tonight losers of ten straight. Suffering through bullpen woes, inconsistency from starters, and the bottom half of the lineup dragging them down offensively, the pieces finally came together on Friday evening.
Handing the ball off their No.1 starter in Brad Keller, the Royals turned their utter dejection from Thursday’s loss into an act of motivation. Taking the frustrations out on Indians starter Carlos Carrasco, the first six Kansas City hitters reached. Kicking off the home half of the first was Whit Merrifield, who sneaked a dribbler down the first base line. Mondesi then piggybacked him with a ringing triple into the right-center gap, plating the games first run on the night.
Strutting to the batters box wearing a yellow armband with the name “Charlie” scribbled around it, Alex Gordon turned an accessory into an unforgettable moment a child battling cancer won’t ever let slip his mind.
Exposing an 84 mph off-speed pitch in the right-field seats, Gordon handed Carrasco his third run in just three batters. Slapping the yellow band as he touched home plate, the 35-year-old outfielder paid homage in the best way he possibly could.
That's one way to make sure the runner on third finds home. pic.twitter.com/GbghPuh1KF— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) April 13, 2019
Down in the order, two of the most highly criticized players in Lucas Duda and Chris Owings delivered the final knockout punches to effectively force the Tribe’s starter to hit the showers early after ⅔ of an inning, allowing a total of six runs on six hits.
Padded with some first inning run support, Keller took the lead and continued in stride. Despite his lone mistake in the second inning, giving up a solo shot to the likes of Tyler Naquin and ending the MLB’s longest homerless stretch of 54 innings, Keller held Cleveland to a mere three hits over the course of 6 ⅔ innings. Striking out a career-high ten hitters, the Royals starter was relieved by Jake Diekman in the seventh after 118 pitches. The total marked the most by a Kansas City pitcher since James Shields in 2014 per Cody Tapp.
Once again charged by the top of its lineup, the Royals 1-3 hitters (Merrifield, Mondesi, Gordon) were a combined 8-15 with one home run and four driven in.
Now 3-10, Kansas City will look to make it two straight tomorrow night at 6:15 CT. Homer Bailey will toe the slab for the Royals while Jefry Rodriguez makes his season debut for Cleveland.