K.C. puts the heat on the Tribe with a 6-3 win
Royals even up series with Indians as McAllister struggles
CLEVELAND--Nobody said it was easy.
A three-run sixth inning by the Royals was too much to overcome for the Tribe, as they fell to Kansas City Tuesday night, 6-3. After winning the opening game in an early battle for the A.L. wild card, both teams even up the critical series at a game apiece.
“We got some hits but we didn’t bunch them together,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We seemed like we were one big hit away from doing some damage, but we didn’t do any damage even when giving ourselves some chances.”
Except for right fielder Jason Kubel, every player in the Tribe starting lineup collected at least one hit in the ballgame, but failed to capitalize getting the leadoff man on in four of the first seven innings.
Michael Brantley got the offense on the board first with a RBI single in the second off Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie (14-10, 4.11 ERA). The lone run though would be all the Tribe bats could get against the former Indians first round draft pick.
Double plays became Guthrie’s best friend Tuesday night with the club grounding into three of them on the night. Although he gave up nine hits, Guthrie has now pitched at least six innings in 14 of his last 15 starts.
Things were very different for Indians starter Zach McAllister (7-9, 4.11 ERA), who looked great at the outset before falling flat late.
After the Royals offense went just 1-for-13 off McAllister through the first 4 1/3 innings, things fell apart for the Tribe right-hander went shortstop Alcides Escobar crushed a solo homer to the home run porch to tie the game up at one apiece in the fifth.
Including the Escobar long ball, Kansas City went 5-for-7 off McAllister in only 2/3 innings, capped off by a two-run double by third baseman Mike Moustakas in the sixth, giving the Royals a 3-1 lead. Catcher Salvador Perez added a RBI single to end McAllister’s night, as he finished the game allowing four runs on six hits.
“Their speed I think bothered him a little bit,” Francona said. “He didn’t have his best change up tonight. Early in the game they were very aggressive off him, and it helped, but then he left some balls up in that last inning.”
Walking three with two strikeouts, McAllister falls to 3-4 with a 4.96 ERA over his last 10 starts since returning from the disabled list July 23. He held a 3.43 ERA in 11 starts before his injury.
The Wahoo’s wouldn’t go quietly once getting into the Royals bullpen. Opening up the home half of the seventh with base hits by Yan Gomes and Lonnie Chisenhall, center fielder Michael Bourn roped a two-run double off right-hander Kelvin Herrera to pull within two runs in the seventh.
Escobar struck again a half inning later with a RBI single off CC Lee in the eighth to keep the heat on the Indians before closer Greg Holland secured the Royals victory notching his 41st save.
The good news is the Indians (77-67) don’t lose any ground in the wild card race as they still sit 1.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild card seed. They do however lose a game in the Central Division to the Detroit Tigers, falling 5.5 games out of first place.
Cleveland also drops to 14-50 when scoring three runs or less in a ballgame.
Left-hander Scott Kazmir (8-7, 4.17 ERA) will look to give the Tribe the series win in the rubber match Wednesday afternoon, hoping to build on his season-high 12 strikeout performance in his last start against the New York Mets. He will be opposed by Royals ace James Shield (10-8, 3.43 ERA) who holds a 4.96 ERA in three starts against Cleveland this year.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.