The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

September 11, 2013

Royals crown Tribe

Indians can't come up with key hit

For the Star Beacon

CLEVELAND — The Indians’ batters were able to hit in quantity on Tuesday night. For the most part, however, they had trouble stringing their hits together.

Cleveland spanked 12 hits, all in the first seven innings, but couldn’t use them effectively, as the Kansas City Royals gained a 6-3 decision at Progressive Field.

The Indians hit safely nine times against  Jeremy Guthrie (14-10, 4.11 ERA)  in his six innings, but scored just once against him. The right-hander helped himself by not walking anybody and inducing three double-play grounders.

“We got some hits; we didn’t bunch them together,” Tribe manager Terry Francona said. “And we rolled into a couple double plays. We seemed like we were one big hit from doing some damage. We gave ourselves chances in a lot of innings, but couldn’t get a big hit to get the ball rolling.”

The three-game series is now even at one game apiece, with the rubber match to be played today at 12:05 p.m. (STO, WFUN, WTAM).

Cleveland (77-67) stayed 11⁄2 games behind Tampa Bay in the race for the second wild card spot in the AL. It also stayed even with Baltimore in that race. The New York Yankees climbed within one-half game of the Tribe, while Kansas City (76-69) moved within 11⁄2 of it. The Indians slipped 51⁄2 games in back of Detroit in the Central Division.

The Royals knocked starter Zach McAllister (7-9, 4.11 ERA) out of the game in the sixth, as they scored three times to break a 1-1 tie.

Eric Hosmer led off with a walk after being behind in the count 0-2. Billy Butler then lashed a double into the left-field corner sending Hosmer to third. Mike Moustakas followed with a two-run double to right, breaking an 0-for-19 slump. Salvador Perez then grounded an RBI single up the middle to end McAllister’s night.

“Their speed, I thought, bothered (McAllister) a little bit,” Francona said. “Obviously, you have to pay attention to it, but I thought it was bothering him a little bit, and he didn’t have his best changeup tonight.

“He left some balls up in that last inning.”

“I threw good for five innings, and then the sixth one hurt me,” McAllister said.

The Indians scored first when Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley singled consecutively with two outs in the first inning.

The Royals got even in the fifth when Alcides Escobar hit a solo homer with one out.

Escobar’s round-tripper, a 417-foot blast which landed on the left-field porch, was his first since April 28, after 467 at-bats without one.

Kansas City tacked on a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Butler against C.C. Lee. The Royals had put men at the corners with one out against Nick Hagadone with the help of two infield hits.

The Tribe closed within 5-3 on Michael Bourn’s two-run double to left-center in the seventh against Kelvin Herrera.

The Royals pushed it back to 6-3 in the eighth against Lee when David Lough tripled to right and came home on an Escobar hit.

Luke Hochevar replaced Herrera, and fanned all five batters he faced. Greg Holland worked the ninth for his 41st save.

Cleveland put men at the corners with one out in the third, but Guthrie got Brantley to ground into a double play.

Lefty Mark Rzepczynski and Blake Wood also pitched for Cleveland.

Lonnie Chisenhall had three hits for the Indians.

Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.