CLEVELAND (AP) — Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur didn’t have to offer any detailed analysis for Sunday’s 15-3 loss to the Indians.
“The intensity stunk,” he said. “Today was brutal.”
No one will disagree with Francoeur’s assessment. Cleveland scored 10 times in the fifth inning to blow the game open and send Kansas City to its seventh loss in eight games.
“It got away in a hurry,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “A 10-run fifth is not good for your business.”
Among the Royals’ recent losses was a 15-4 pasting by the Indians at home a week earlier.
Luke Hochevar (8-16) was tagged for nine runs in 4 2-3 innings in his final start of the season.
“Obviously, it’s not good,” Hochevar said. “It’s not how I want to end the year.”
Hochevar dropped to 1-7 in 11 starts since beating the Indians on July 31. The right-hander gave up nine hits and three walks to close a wildly inconsistent season.
In 21 outings, he had a 2.88 ERA. In 11 other starts, he lasted only a total of 48 innings and had a 13.88 ERA.
“When I take the mound I want to help the team win,” he said. “That’s the bottom line. That’s why we’re here. I didn’t feel I helped the team win like I should.”
Alex Gordon hit a two-run homer, his 13th, in the sixth for Kansas City. Tony Abreu’s RBI single made it 11-3 in the seventh.
The loss also added to the Royals’ injury problems, which seems to grow by the day.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas left in the sixth with left groin tightness, although Yost said he would have been able to stay in the game had the score been closer. First baseman Eric Hosmer and shortstop Alcides Escobar missed the three-game series with shoulder injuries. Hosmer has a slight tear in his right rotator cuff and will be re-examined Monday when the Royals open a three-game homestand with Detroit.
The Royals and Indians will have some say on how the AL Central race ends. Kansas City plays the Tigers, who lead Chicago by three games. Cleveland hosts the fading White Sox for three games, also starting Monday.
“We have three important games with playoff implications for the other team,” Francoeur said. “Hopefully, we play a lot better than we did today.”
Asdrubal Cabrera capped Cleveland’s big inning with a grand slam and Zach McAllister (6-8) pitched five-hit ball over 6 2-3 innings, allowing three runs as Cleveland improved to 2-1 with interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr.
The Indians tied a season high in runs and with 19 hits.
The Indians are 5-2 after a 12-41 stretch that dropped them from contention into last place in the AL Central and cost manager Manny Acta his job. General manager Chris Antonetti will interview Alomar and former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona soon for the full-time position and expects a few other candidates to be in the search.
The 10-run inning was Cleveland’s first since doing it in Kansas City in a 19-1 win on May 16, 2011. The Indians had not scored 10 in an inning at home since an 11-run first inning against the Royals on Aug. 13, 2006.
NOTES: Kansas City won the season series for the first time since 2003, going 10-8. … Cleveland has totaled 104 runs in the fifth, their best inning overall. … LHP Bruce Chen (11-13) will start for the Royals against Detroit RHP Rick Porcello (9-12) on Monday night.