Indians 6, Royals 4
A week ago, the Indians were reeling amid serious questions
about whether they could contend.
Five wins have put them back on track.
And back on Detroit’s heels.
Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run double to cap Cleveland’s
comeback in the sixth inning, and the Indians charged into the
All-Star break with a 6-4 win over Kansas City on Sunday and
three-game sweep of the Royals.
Cabrera’s double off Tim Collins (2-5) led the roller-coasting
Indians to their fourth straight win. At 51-44, they stayed 1 1-2
games behind the first-place Tigers in the AL Central. Last week,
Detroit took three of four from Cleveland to widen its lead in the
division. It seemed the Tigers were poised to run away and
But with their fans fearing a collapse like last year, the
Indians pulled together.
”We got the city of Cleveland to step back off the ledge after
the Detroit series,” said All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis.
”So that’s good. We wanted to push ourselves. To be able to sweep
them and get a couple days off now, that’s a great way to end
Cleveland has its most wins at the All-Star break since 2007 –
the last time the Indians made the playoffs.
Reliever Rich Hill (1-1) got two outs in the sixth, and closer
Chris Perez – Cleveland’s fifth reliever – worked the ninth for his
13th save as the Indians improved to 43-1 when leading after
Billy Butler had three hits for the Royals (43-49), who dropped
their fifth straight. Kansas City is third in the AL Central, eight
”We’ve had a rough five games,” manager Ned Yost said. ”They
can go take a break, regroup and hopefully come back and play more
The Indians have had their issues with inconsistency, as well,
but they have been resilient all season. The series finale was no
different as Cleveland trailed 4-3 in the sixth before rallying
against Kansas City’s usually reliable bullpen.
Collins, who took the loss in Friday’s series opener, walked
Lonnie Chisenhall leading off. Drew Stubbs singled, Michael Bourn
sacrificed, and Cabrera, whose name has surfaced in trade rumors,
drove a 1-0 pitch into the gap in right-center to put Cleveland
back in front.
Kipnis followed with an RBI single off Everett Teaford to give
the Indians a 6-4 lead.
”I was real proud of our guys,” manager Terry Francona said.
”We kept battling, and because of it we go into the break with a
Bryan Shaw and Joe Smith combined for two scoreless innings
before Perez, who spent time on the disabled list and was charged
with drug possession in the first half, gave up a one-out double in
the ninth but struck out Butler and retired All-Star catcher
Salvador Perez on a grounder for the final out.
The Indians have overcome their share of injuries, inconsistent
pitching and a 4-16 stretch which put them 5 1-2 games back of the
Tigers on June 17.
After dropping three of four to Detroit, Cleveland finished the
first half by going 5-1.
”It’s been a great first half for us,” Indians first baseman
Nick Swisher said. ”We’ve dealt with a lot of injuries and to be
standing where we are right now, we’ve got to feel great about
Royals starter James Shields ended up with his seventh
no-decision in his last nine starts. The right-hander allowed three
runs and seven hits in five innings, leaving with a 4-3 lead.
Shields has received sparse run support as the Royals have scored
just nine total runs in his six losses.
Shields, though, was more focused on getting his team turned
around than his record.
”You never want to lose five in a row, but I’m not too worried
about it,” Shields said. ”We’ve done a good job of grinding this
first half. It definitely could be a lot worse and it definitely
could be a lot better. Right now we need to kick it in gear and
string together some wins.”
Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez didn’t get through the fifth
inning, his shortest start since June 7.
After the Indians took a 3-2 lead in the third, Jimenez let the
Royals grab it back in the fourth on Johnny Giavotella’s RBI
groundout and Alcides Escobar’s run-scoring single.
Jimenez walked the leadoff hitter in the fifth and was quickly
pulled by Francona before things got worse. Reliever C.C. Lee made
his major league debut and retired the Royals on three straight
popups to keep the Indians within one.
Shields worked around a two-on, none-out jam in the second, but
hurt himself with a one-out walk in the third when the Indians
scored twice to take a 3-2 lead.
Kipnis walked with one down and moved up on a groundout. Michael
Brantley, who came in batting .382 with runners in scoring
position, hit an RBI single to tie it 2-all. Santana then doubled
inside the bag at first, and third-base coach Brad Mills never
hesitated in waving Brantley home.
”I don’t feel like I struggled,” Shields said. ”I threw some
really good pitches. I think I threw three changeups that probably
would have hit the dirt, and they got base hits on them. They
probably had about 20 foul-offs. That’s a good team over there.
They work really good at-bats.”
NOTES: Cleveland’s pitchers haven’t given up a home run in 60
innings. … Last year, the Indians were 44-41 at the All-Star
break and three games out of first place. They collapsed in August,
going 5-24. … Francona will spend a few off days in Las Vegas.
”I’m going to see how much money I can lose,” he cracked. ”I’m
going to lay low.” … Kansas City will be represented in New York
by Alex Gordon, Perez and closer Greg Holland, the first time the
Royals have had three All-Stars since 1988. Perez is the first KC
catcher on the team since Darrell Porter in 1980.