Crushing it: Morales leads Kansas City offense to double-digit runs

Once again, Brandon Moss’ heroics weren’t enough to beat Kansas City.

His three-run home run off Brandon Finnegan gave the Indians a two-run lead in the sixth inning, but the Royals responded with six runs in the next frame to jolt Kansas City to an 11-5 win over Cleveland on Tuesday night.

The Royals sent nine batters to the plate in the seventh inning, knocking five hits (three extra-base ones) and cashing in against three Cleveland relievers. DH Kendrys Morales capped the big inning when he crushed a three-run home run to right-center that gave the Royals a four-run lead. Kansas City added two runs in the ninth inning.

Morales finished the night 3 for 5 with three RBIs and four runs scored. He fell a triple short of hitting for the cycle.

The Royals whacked a season-high 18 hits on their way to their second straight win. It was the third time this season Kansas City reached double-digit runs after doing so only five times last season.

3 UP

• Gordon at the plate. Alex Gordon continued his recent hot streak at the plate, smashing a monster solo home run in the second inning and singling home a run in the sixth inning. After going deep Sunday in Chicago, Gordon has now homered in two of his past three games.

In his past 12 games, Gordon is 16 for 42 (.381) with three home runs and nine RBIs. StatCast estimated Tuesday’s blast at 468 feet, which would be the second-longest home run this season and the longest of Gordon’s career.

• Infante’s key hits. Second baseman Omar Infante went 3 for 5 with two RBIs, with the first two hits coming in clutch situations. In the fourth inning, Infante ripped a single that scored Morales and knotted the game at two. In the seventh inning, Infante doubled to ensure the first two hitters reached for the Royals.

• Another comeback win. Tuesday night’s victory was Kansas City’s ninth comeback win of the season and third when trailing after six innings. When the game finished was over, Kansas City had more comeback wins than 12 teams had total victories.

3 DOWN

• Gordon on the bases. For all that he’s done at the plate and in left field in recent days, Gordon’s Tuesday night left something to be desired on the basepaths. Gordon was erased twice on the bases, once advancing too far on a base hit, the other getting caught stealing.

In the fourth inning, Gordon rounded second and made the turn toward third on Infante’s single. But the Indians cut off the outfield throw and ran down Gordon in between bases. After Gordon’s RBI single in the sixth, he was nabbed easily at second base on a good throw from Cleveland catcher Brett Hayes.

• Finnegan struggles. The left-handed Finnegan struggled in his 2015 major league debut. Against the first batter he faced, Finnegan surrendered a three-run home run that gave Cleveland a two-run lead. Finnegan then allowed one more hit, walked a batter and hit another.

Because he was the pitcher of record when the Royals rallied, though, Finnegan earned the win. It was his first career major league victory.

• Escobar’s leg. When shortstop Alcides Escobar slid home in the seventh inning with the go-ahead run, he did so awkwardly against Hayes. He made contact with Hayes’ glove and dislodged the ball, but also limped toward the dugout after the play, favoring his left leg.

Escobar injured his left knee when Oakland’s Brett Lawrie slid into him nearly two weeks ago, causing a mild sprain and contusion. Escobar missed only two games because of the injury but has iced his knee down after recent games.

WHAT’S NEXT

Yordano Ventura will make his fifth start of the season Wednesday, and his first one since being suspended for seven games after Thursday’s brawl in Chicago. He has appealed the suspension and is eligible to pitch. Ventura has been ejected from his last two starts and suffered cramps in the other two starts. He has a 4.09 ERA but has not allowed more than two runs in three of his four outings.

Right-hander Danny Salazar will pitch for the Indians, looking to build on two superb outings to start the season. Salazar has 21 combined strikeouts in 13 innings, and has given up just three runs. Two of the three runs came on solo home runs. Salazar has faced the Royals five times, owning a 2-3 record and 5.33 ERA against Kansas City.

You can follow Matthew DeFranks on Twitter at @MDeFranks or email him at matthew.defranks@gmail.com.