On a surprisingly warm, comfortable night at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, the hometown faithful – all 10,356 of them – were easily enveloped by the sea of green open seats and noticeable speckles of Kansas City Blue. But it was the Indians, on the back of another dominant Carlos Carrasco performance, who prevailed as they topped the Central Division-leading Royals 8-to-3.
The game got off to a bit of a rocky start for Carrasco, who coughed up a leadoff homerun to All-Star left fielder Alex Gordon on a first pitch fastball, but it proved to be the ace right-hander’s lone blip on the radar as he buried KC’s potentially potent lineup by scattering just four more hits over the next six innings, striking out nine and walking a pair. It’s the tenth game of the year where Carrasco has fanned at least eight walked two or fewer batters.
As for the Tribe, Jason Kipnis pulled the I-can-do-everything-you-can-do feat leading off the Tribe’s first inning, swatting a laser to right field on an Edinson Volquez low-and-in fastball for his eighth dinger of the year. Cleveland would keep the Dominican-born hurler on his toes for the rest of the night, carving out seven total hits – three of which were the extra-base variety – and four runs through the first five innings.
After a quick 16-pitch inning by former Ivy Leaguer Chris Young, the Indians battered the normally dominant setup man Kelvin Herrera in the bottom of the seventh inning.
With the score 4-to-3 in favor of the good guys – thanks to another hiccup by Zach McAllister – Michael Brantley doubled to the left-center gap. Carlos Santana followed with his third trip to first base on the night, and the rejuvenated Lonnie Chisenhall smashed a double to right field to plate Brantley. Backstop Yan Gomes knocked in the the remaining two runners with another double to right-center.
The Indians wrapped up the three-plus hour game up with an up-and-down appearance by Jeff Manship.
The Indians take on the Royals again Tuesday night, as Josh Tomlin toes the rubber against Kris Medlen.
On a side note: To my good friend Barry, Tribe first baseman – and cleanup hitter – Carlos Santana saw a game-leading 24 pitches in last night’s contest, or just about 15% of the Royals’ offerings. The underappreciated Santana is now averaging 4.29 pitches per plate appearance, the fourth best mark in all of baseball. As I’ve noted previously here, that brings the club closer to the oh-so-important 145-mark.