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No fireworks for the Royals in 4-0 shutout loss

Mike Clevinger improves to 7-0 against the Royals.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Indians starter Mike Clevinger tossed six shutout innings with nine strikeouts as the Royals managed just five hits in a 4-0 loss to Cleveland Wednesday night. Clevinger allowed just four hits and walked none, improving to 7-0 against the Royals in 11 career games. Danny Duffy pitched adequately, leaving after 6 23 innings and just two runs allowed, his third Quality Start in a row. But he had no margin for error with the quiet Royals bats.

The Indians got on the board in the third inning when the not-particularly-fleet-of-foot Roberto Perez led off with a triple. A wild pitch allowed him to score on a close play at the plate to make it 1-0 Cleveland. The next inning Carlos Santana scored in much easier fashion - by putting one over the fence for his 19th home run of the year to make it 2-0.

But Duffy was pretty sharp otherwise. In the seventh, he looked to falter a bit, walking Perez to open the frame, then allowing a ground ball by Jake Bauers to get through. He induced Tyler Naquin to ground into a double play, but then walked Francsico Lindor with first base open, followed by another walk to Oscar Mercado. It was Duffy’s fifth free pass of the night allowed, causing his departure after 108 pitches with the bases loaded. Kevin McCarthy escaped the jam by geting Santana to tap into a harmless grounder to preserve the two-run deficit.

The Indians opened up their lead in the eighth to really put the game out of reach. With two outs, Ned Yost elected to keep Kevin McCarthy to stay in the game to face lefty Jason Kipnis, despite Tim Hill warm in the bullpen. Kipnis walked and Royal-killer Roberto Perez smacked a two-run home run down the left field line to make it 4-0.

The Royals have had some success in the ninth against the Indians lately, and they did muster their most potent rally again that frame. Whit Merrifield led off with a double, and with one out, Alex Gordon walked. But Hunter Dozier and Jorge Soler were quietly retired by Brad Hand, ending the game and making this the sixth time this year the Royals have been shut out.

Oh by the way, Bubba Starling hit two home runs for Triple-A Omaha tonight. Too bad we have no room for him in KC, huh?

The Royals have dropped six of their last seven and fall to 29-58 on the year. They host the Indians again tomorrow afternoon at 12:15.