Mike Moustakas smashed his third home run of the season Tuesday night in Cleveland to help spark the Royals' offense.
The Royals brought out their version of the long ball Tuesday night in Cleveland — four doubles, and a home run.
Hey, not the ’27 Yankees, we know.
But for a team as power-challenged as the Royals, they’ll take it.
The big blow was Mike Moustakas’ three-run jolt into the right-field seats that put the Royals up 3-1. And the Royals rolled from there, 8-2, to climb back to a game over. 500.
Pitching wasn’t the story on this night, but James Shields did his thing, striking out nine through six innings and allowing just one earned run. And once again, Danny Duffy was sensational, striking out two in two scoreless innings of relief when the game was still somewhat in question at 6-2.
Solid win by the Royals who again in 2014 look almost unbeatable when they score — 10-0 this season when they get four runs or more.
Moose comes through again. Make that three clutch home runs now by Mike Moustakas that have led to victories. And all three have come on off-speed pitches. I asked Moose last week after he hit a changeup for a homer against the Twins if he thought opponents would back off throwing him changeups — he grinned and said, "I hope not." On Tuesday, with two on and two out and the Royals trailing 1-0, Moose belted a split-fingered fastball for a three-run jack off hard throwing Danny Salazar.
Three of the Big 4 come through. Club officials often talk about the team’s "Big 4" — Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and Sal Perez — needing to carry the team offensively. That’s something the Big 4 hasn’t done all season, until Tuesday. Eric Homser lashed four hits, including a screaming double off the center-field fence and a shot off the left-field fence for another double. Billy Butler cranked his deepest blast of the season — the ball missed being a homer over the center-field fence by eight inches, and Butler settled for a double. Alex Gordon also laced a two-run double to right-center. Perez went 0 for 5, but the other three of the Big 4 went 7 for 13 with four runs scored and four RBI.
And maybe it’s time we add Moose to the group and make it the "Big 5," since he is leading the team in homers, after all.
Keep it coming Esky. Alcides Escobar continues to swing the hot bat down in the order. Esky had two more hits, and just as important, he patiently waited out Salazar for a walk in the third. Last season, Esky wouldn’t have taken the out-of-the-zone pitches he is spitting on this season.
Dyson gets an up and a down. Yes, it’s pretty hard to find any fault in this win. But Jarrod Dyson did fail to get a sacrifice bunt down in the third inning, the second time in two nights. But Dyson gets a pass because he laid down a beautiful bunt for a single in the next inning that actually plated Escobar from third with two out that gave the Royals a 4-1 lead. Big run at the time. Dyson dragged that bunt down the first-base line and the Indians really had no play. Great idea, great execution by Dyson.
Please give Sal a night off. The when-will-Sal-get-a-day-off watch has become pretty intense among Royals fans. Sal has played all 19 games and honestly looks mentally exhausted at the plate, which probably explains his 0 for 22 drought. He needs a mental break.
Is Francona paid by the hour? Honestly, you can’t argue with the success of Tribe manager Terry Francona. He’s simply one of the best managers in the game. But if you’re involved in an Indians game, be prepared for a long day or night. Tuesday’s game came in at a crisp three hours, 34 minutes. And that’s the norm for them. Yikes.
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter @jflanagankc or email firstname.lastname@example.org.