In a very fast game, the Indians beat the Royals, 5-4, to clinch the series on Sunday afternoon.
Kansas City jumped to a 2-0 lead when Cheslor Cuthbert came through with a clutch RBI double in the first inning. Two frames later, Jorge Soler blasted his 27th homer of the year to give the Royals a 2-0 lead. Soler had a great day, reaching base all four times he came up to bat. He had three hits and a walk, as well as his 70th RBI of the year. His batting average is up above .250.
Cleveland scored the next five runs of the game, with most of the damage coming in a tiebreaking, three-run sixth inning. Glenn Sparkman, coming off his brilliant shutout of the White Sox, melted down in the sixth inning after starting so strong. His final line: 5.2 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs, and 97 pitches.
The Royals climbed back late, as after facing a 5-2 deficit in the late innings, Cuthbert hit an RBI single in the eighth. In the ninth, Bubba Starling connected with his first major league home run, a solo shot to left, to close the gap to 5-4.
It was a 406-foot shot for Starling, who has a seven-game hitting streak. It was caught by a Royals fan in the left-center bleachers, which was pretty cool.
The Royals’ bullpen did a nice job in relief to keep the game close. Tim Hill entered the Sparkman fire in the sixth and escaped it with one pitch. Jorge Lopez threw two perfect innings of relief down the stretch.
It was a rough day for Whit Merrifield, who was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Alex Gordon, batting second, was 0-for-4, so the front two batters in the order were 0-for-9.
Overall, the Royals lost two out of three in the series, but they played well against one of the best teams in the American League. They are 37-64. They get tomorrow off before traveling to Atlanta for a brief two-game series with the Braves.