The Cleveland Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals in an afternoon game today by a final score of 5-1. The win was the Tribe’s third in the four game series against the Royals and returned the club to .500 with an 11-11 record. For those of us who care about such things, the Indians were 9-13 after twenty-two games last year, so they are two games better at the same point in the season this year.
The first four and a half innings made it seem as though the game would be a pitcher’s duel. Corey Kluber and Royals starter Bruce Chen had held both teams scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Indians finally struck. Carlos Santana led off with a double, ending an 0-for-16 slide. Michael Brantley then singled home Santana to give the Tribe a 1-0 lead. Ryan Raburn then walked and Yan Gomes singled to load the bases. David Murphy then singled home Brantley and Raburn. Mike Aviles moved Gomes and Murphy to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, and Asdrubal Cabrera drove both men in with a double to left field.
Kluber was dominant today, allowing one unearned run in the Tribe’s first complete game effort of the season while striking out eleven. The Royals scored that run in the top of the seventh inning, when Omar Infante hit a two-out single and then scored when a Mike Moustakas grounder rolled into the right field corner on a Nick Swisher error at first base. This game dropped Kluber’s ERA on the season by a run and a half, from 5.40 to 3.90. If Kluber can return to being the pitcher he was last year that would do wonders for the Indians’ rotation.
After drawing less than 9,000 fans on Tuesday and not much more last night, today’s paid attendance of 10,440 was actually an improvement, as sad as that is. Hopefully the Indians will prove last season was not a fluke and the attendance will improve as the weather warms up. After a disappointing season by the Cavaliers and with a Browns team that hasn’t been competitive in years, Terry Francona and his players deserve the fans’ support. The Tribe now heads out west for a weekend series against the San Francisco Giants followed by three games next week against the Los Angeles Angels.