Ramirez’s 3-run homer leads Indians over Royals 8-3
Francisco Lindor had three hits, including an RBI triple, as the Indians stayed two games behind first-place Minnesota in the AL Central. Cleveland has won three straight and nine of 11, improving to 16-4 in July.
Ramirez’s drive in the sixth inning made it 5-1. The switch-hitting slugger, busting out of a season-long slump lately, launched a tiebreaking homer in the 14th inning of Cleveland’s 5-4 win over the Royals on Thursday night. He has seven home runs and 21 RBIs this month, and the Indians are 30-3 when Ramirez drives in a run.
Tyler Naquin also had three hits and an RBI.
Plesac (5-3) gave up just an unearned run and six hits in seven strong innings. He made a great defensive play in the sixth when he went into a headlong dive to snare a foul popup near the Kansas City dugout.
Jakob Junis (6-9) gave up six runs and 10 hits in six-plus innings after coming off the paternity list.
The Indians threatened in the first two innings before finally getting to Junis in the third. Naquin hit a one-out single before Lindor ripped a triple down the right field line. Jorge Soler had trouble picking it up in the corner, allowing Lindor to get to third easily. He scored on Mike Freeman’s two-out single.
The Royals closed within one in the fifth with an unearned run. Whit Merrifield reached on a throwing error by Freeman at third base, moved to third on a single by Alex Gordon and scored on a single by Hunter Dozier.
The Indians got another run in the seventh. Junis gave up hits to Naquin and Lindor before being removed. Freeman sent a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Naquin.
Kansas City avoided more damage when Starling threw out Lindor trying to score on a flyout.
The Indians tacked on runs in the eighth and ninth. The Royals got two in the ninth.
Starling extended his hitting streak to 10 games in his 11th major league game.
Indians: All-Star 1B Carlos Santana was scratched from the lineup with left shoulder soreness. He was in the original lineup as the DH. He is considered day-to-day. … RHP Jefry Rodriguez, on the injured list since June 2 with a right shoulder sprain, is improving. He’s scheduled to throw a bullpen Saturday at the team’s Arizona training facility. … Naquin missed the previous three games with right hamstring tightness.
RHP Mike Clevinger (4-2, 3.61 ERA) starts Saturday for Cleveland. He is 7-0 in his career against Kansas City, tied for the most wins against the Royals without a loss. He’ll face RHP Glenn Sparkman (3-6, 4.67) in the third game of the four-game series. Sparkman has a 1.76 ERA at home, compared to 8.73 on the road.