On a Wednesday afternoon when the Kansas City heat indices approached 110 degrees, the Indians kept their cool enough to rout the defending champions 11-4 and win the three-game series, two games to one.
The Tigers lost to the Twins 4-1 Wednesday afternoon, so the Indians lead the AL Central by 7.5 games. Cleveland (56-38) has the best winning percentage in the American league –.596.
A Jason Kipnis home run put them ahead in the first inning, shutout pitching by Carlos Carrasco suppressed the Royals for six innings and Tyler Naquin continued his unexpected rookie power surge with three extra-base hits.
Naquin has 26 extra-base hits, including a dozen home runs, in fewer than 200 plate appearances.
Carlos Santana also homered for the Indians.
By the seventh inning, both teams appeared to be conceding the result, calling in reserves for their overheated athletes. The Royals even sent designated hitter Kendrys Morales to first base, forcing their pitcher to bat in the third lineup position where Eric Hosmer started.
Carrasco allowed only one hit and two walks in six innings before he was replaced by Dan Otero. Carrasco made only 84 pitches in the sweltering heat. Royals starter Ian Kennedy made 104 pitches and only lasted until one out in the fifth inning.
Reliever Austin Adams spoiled the shutout, allowing four runs and five hits in the eighth inning. He only retired two batters.
The Indians will have a day to cool off on Thursday as they travel to Baltimore for a 7 p.m. game Friday against the Orioles. Trevor Bauer (7-3, 3.36) will start for the Indians against Dylan Bundy (2-2, 3.70). The Orioles held a half-game lead in the American League East before their Wednesday game with the Yankees. The Weather Channel expects 96 degrees in Baltimore Friday with little chance for rain.
You are invited to look at the Game Thread for additional notes.