The Cleveland Indians belted three home runs in the first two innings and four over the course of the game, pacing them to a win to even the series in Kansas City and tie the Chicago White Sox for the AL Central lead.
The Cleveland Indians came out swinging on Tuesday night against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium, knocking two home runs in the first inning and another in the second to take a commanding 5-0 lead.
In the top of the first with Cesar Hernandez standing on first base after a lead-off single, Francisco Lindor sent a shot to right field for his sixth home run of the season and granting the Indians the early 2-0 lead.
Cleveland wasn’t done there in the first. Franmil Reyes then sent a solo blast out to center field to extend the lead to 3-0 going into the bottom of the first.
After starting pitcher Zach Plesac navigated a scoreless bottom half, the Indians went right back to work in the second, seeing newly acquired Josh Naylor single before Roberto Perez joined the home run party with his first round trip of the season to further extend the Tribe lead to 5-0.
With the five runs, the Indians chased out Kansas City starter Matt Harvey who was replaced after just 1.1 innings by 23-year old Carlos Hernandez, making just his second major league appearance. From there the scoring calmed down for a bit, but the damage was done with the Cleveland Indians leading 5-0.
The Indians ended up tacking another run on in the top of the sixth. Delino DeShields singled and then advanced to second on a pass ball before scoring on a hit by Jose Ramirez. Ramirez was tagged out in a run down after DeShields touched home, ending the inning with Cleveland up 6-0.
Kansas City got on the board in the bottom of the sixth with a home run from Hunter Dozier, his fourth of the season, to trim the Cleveland lead to 6-1 heading into the seventh.
The next mark in the game was a pitching change by the Royals after back-to-back base knocks by Carlos Santana and Reyes. He was replaced by Randy Rosario and after just two pitches from Rosario, the tarps came on after a quick, hard shower began, resulting in a brief ran delay. Another pitch thrown from Rosario when play resumed resulted in a sacrifice fly by Tyler Naquin to bring in Santana.
Naylor then pushed a bloop into shallow center field to bring in Reyes before scoring himself from first on a knock by Perez down the line, increasing the lead to 9-1.
The night would end before the seventh for Plesac, being replaced in the middle of the inning. In his return start from the alternate site, Plesac lasted six innings, giving up one run on just four hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Replacing Plesac was the right-handed reliever Dominic Leone, making his 10th appearance of the season.
The scoring wasn’t over yet for the Tribe with Ramirez adding another RBI with a solo shot in the top of the eighth inning, his eighth of the season, to extend the lead to 10-1.
It was just an inning of work for Leone allowing only one hit in the outing. He was replaced by another player added in the trade with San Diego, Cal Quantrill who made his debut for the Cleveland Indians. In the same inning, Naylor moved to first base from left, Austin Hedges went in behind the plate, Oscar Mercado moved into left, replacing Santana in the lineup and Mike Freeman also came on to replace Ramirez at third.
From there, Quantrill finished out the game, going two innings for the Tribe. He allowed just two hits while striking out one to close down the game for Cleveland.
The win gives Cleveland a 22-14 record while Kansas City drops to the reverse at 14-22. With the win and the Twins topping the White Sox, the Indians are now tied with Chicago at the top of the AL Central.
On Deck: The Cleveland Indians will conclude the series in Kansas City on Wednesday night before an off day on Thursday. Triston McKenzie is set to take the mound for Cleveland for his third start of his career. He will face Jakob Junis for the Royals, who enters with a 4.26 ERA and a 0-0 record.