After being swept by the Chicago White Sox in a four game series on Sunday, the Cleveland Indians held a team meeting in an effort to get back to playing winning baseball at Progressive Field. It didn’t work in the first game since the closed door meeting was held. The Kansas City Royals sent the tribe to their fifth consecutive loss, 9-4 in game one of the three game series.
For the second time in the last three games, Indians pitching gives up a crooked number in the first inning. Saturday, Carlos Carrasco allowed five runs to Chicago. Monday night, Cody Anderson gave up three runs on one swing of the bat by Eric Hosmer. The three run homer wasn’t the game winning run for the first place Royals, but it all but put the game out of reach before the Indians took their first swings against Edinson Volquez.
The Indians had a chance to cut into the deficit in the bottom of the first inning. Jason Kipnis lead off the game with a single. Two batters later, Michael Brantley would single to send Kipnis to third base with just one out. David Murphy would fly out to Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain who would throw a perfect strike to catcher Salvador Perez to cut down Kipnis at home plate. While the Indians didn’t score a run in that inning, Kipnis tagging up and trying to score from third base was an indication that players are still playing hard and trying to do whatever is necessary to win.
Kansas City would extend their lead to 4-0 in the second inning when Omar Infante hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot to the home run porch in left field. It was the first home run for the Royals infielder since last August.
Carlos Santana would get that run right back in the bottom of the second inning. Santana would take a Volquez mistake deep and gone to straight away center field that would clear the trees that serve as a batters eye. It was Santana’s eleventh home run of the season.
The Indians had a couple of chances to get back into the game. Later in the second the tribe loaded the bases but Francisco Lindor would ground into a fielder’s choice to end the inning. In the third inning Brantley would lead off the inning with a walk and Murphy would single. They would be left stranded after Santana would fly out followed by strike outs from Brandon Moss and Yan Gomes.
The Royals would get to Anderson for three more runs in the fifth inning. The inning and the game might have been different if not for a good challenge call by Royals manager Ned Yost. Alcides Escobar would hit a ball into the left field corner. Michael Brantley would make a great throw to Kipnis at second base. Escobar was originally called out, but video replay showed Escobar was safe. If Yost doesn’t challenge, Escobar would have been out number one and the bases would be empty. Mike Moustakas would ground out which would have been out number two instead of the first out. The next four Royals would reach base resulting in three runs and a 7-1 Kansas City lead.
The Royals would add two more runs in the seventh inning to blow the game wide open at 9-1. Kendrys Morales would single home Cain and Perez would bring Hosmer home on a sacrifice fly.
Lindor would round out the scoring by hitting his fourth home run of the season, a three run shot of Royals reliever Joe Blanton making the score 9-4.
Volquez would pick up his tenth win of the season. Volquez would go six innings allowing three earned run on six hits with five walks and four strike outs. The two base runners who scored on Lindor’s home run were the responsibility of Volquez. Blanton would be credited with his second save of the season because he pitched the final three innings of a regulation nine inning game. Anderson falls to 2-2 on the season. Anderson went five and two thirds innings allowing seven earned runs on eight hits with two walks and two strike outs.
The Indians are now 45-53 and have lost a league leading 31 games at home. The Royals become the first team in the American League to reach the 60 win mark and only trail in state rival St. Louis for the most wins in all of Major League Baseball.
Game two of the series takes place Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m. Trevor Bauer will pitch for the Indians. The Royals will counter with Chris Young.