The Cleveland Indians brought their losing streak to an abrupt end on Wednesday, as they beat the Royals 7-5 in the final game of the series. Danny Salazar wasn’t as brilliant as he had been in his first two starts, allowing four runs on six hits, but he struck out seven and did just enough to keep Kansas City at bay for six innings. Royals ace Yordano Ventura had an off-night, giving up five runs as he walked four batters and allowed six hits with just one strikeout in 5.1 innings.
The Tribe faced an early deficit courtesy of a trio of first-inning singles by Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas and Kendrys Morales, but the Royals couldn’t hold on to the lead. Roberto Perez and Michael Bourn had back-to-back hits to lead off the third inning, and Jason Kipnis cashed in on that with a three-run home run to deep right-center field.
Kansas City briefly held the lead again in the sixth inning, when Lorenzo Cain singled and Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer to center field. Salazar quickly got a line drive out, followed by two swinging strikeouts, and his offense rewarded him when they stepped to the plate in the bottom half of the inning. Lonnie Chisenhall smashed a one-out double to center field, before scoring on Perez’s RBI double. After Franklin Morales took over on the mound, Bourn hit an RBI double of his own, then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Kipnis grounded out, but was able to get the run home, putting the Tribe up 6-4.
With one out in the eighth inning, Perez hit a solo home run to right center field, giving the Indians a three-run advantage. It turned out to be a fairly important run, as Cody Allen allowed the Royals to score one more run in the ninth inning, when Alex Gordon doubled and reached home on an RBI single off of the bat of Omar Infante.
The Indians played well today, with plenty of players having big nights at the plate. Kipnis, who was 1-for-4 with a walk, had four RBIs, and Bourn went 2-for-2. The most impressive was Perez, who had a 3-for-3 night in addition to a walk and a pair of RBIs. Zach McAllister was stellar out of the bullpen, giving up just one hit in two innings and striking out three.
Defensively, the team looked a little rough on Wednesday. Brandon Moss was hit with an error, not because he misplayed a ball off of the bat, but because he failed to back up a ball that Bourn dove for. Perez had a passed ball, and Jose Ramirez allowed a runner to reach on a bad double-play throw that forced Carlos Santana off of the first base bag.
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Check It Out
– The Royals may have temporarily lost Escobar yet again, as he was hit in the head by a pitch from Salazar in the fifth inning. He walked off of the field with the help of trainers after staying on the ground for several minutes, and the Royals later announced that he has a left cheek contusion. Escobar missed time earlier this year, after he was injured during a slide play while covering second base. Kansas City batters have been hit by 20 pitches so far this season.
– The Blue Jays are headed to Cleveland, and it should mean some high-scoring games. Toronto hitters have scored 116 runs – the most in baseball – and are tied with the Dodgers for the fourth-most home runs. Conversely, their pitchers have also allowed the third-most runs, with 114, and given up the second-most home runs, with 29. Hopefully, Cleveland can take advantage of Toronto’s pitching staff while maintaining control over the Jays’ offense.
– The Blue Jays will send rookie left-hander Daniel Norris to the mound for his fifth start of the year. Norris is 1-1 with a 4.43 ERA and 17 strikeouts, but he will likely be a formidable opponent for an Indians’ lineup that has struggled against lefties. The Tribe will start their left-hander as well, as T.J. House continues his quest to get back to the pitcher he was in 2014. He has a 12.60 ERA in 10 innings over the course of three games, and is 0-3, but it is important to keep in mind that he’s faced the dominant (and primarily-right-handed) Detroit Tigers lineup twice so far this season. The player he will need to be wary of is Josh Donaldson, who is a career .338 hitter against the Tribe, and is batting .349 with five home runs this season.