Trevor Bauer struck out 12, pitching into the seventh inning in a 5-3 win over the Royals in the rubber match Wednesday afternoon. Bauer allowed just one run in 7 1⁄3 innings, allowing just three hits and one walk, and lowering his career ERA against KC to 2.89 in 15 games.
The Indians got to Royals’ starter Jakob Junis in the first. Francisco Lindor led off the inning with a single, then stole second and moved to third on a Carlos Santana. Jason Kipnis’ sacrifice fly brought him home for the game’s first tally. Lindor got the scoring going again in the third, leading off with a double, and coming home to score on Oscar Mercado’s RBI single to make it 2-0.
The Indians broke things open in the fourth. Jake Bauers smacked his tenth home run of the year, and Tyler Naquin added a shot of his own, his sixth. The two solo shots put the Royals in a 4-0 deficit after four innings.
Meanwhile, Bauer was cruising with a no-hitter through four. Humberto Arteaga finally got the first Royals hit in the fifth, and Billy Hamilton’s bloop double down the left field line put the Royals on the board. The Royals wouldn’t put another runner in scoring position until the seventh, when Cam Gallagher walked to move Humberto Arteaga to second, knocking Bauer out of the game after 127 pitches.
The Royals showed some of that competitive fire, making a run at a comeback in the ninth, down 5-1 at that point courtesy of a throwing error by Tim Hill in the eighth that would lead to another run. Lucas Duda homered off Nick Wittgren to make it 5-2. Humberto Arteaga doubled, and an Alex Gordon pinch-hit RBI single made things interesting at 5-3. But Whit Merrifield struck out as the tying run, one of 16 strikeouts the Royals had on the day.
It is the 32nd time this year they have struck out in the double digits. Only two seasons in club history have seen them collect more double digit strikeout games, 2016 (43) and 2018 (47). If you want to see how the game has changed, the 1978 Royals had just two double-digit strikeout games all season.
The Royals falll to 28-53 as the club hits the halfway mark of the season, and would be on pace for 56-wins, which would tie them for the worst season in Royals history in 2005. The club is off tomorrow before traveling to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays this weekend for a four-game series.