Indians edge Royals 6-5, win fifth straight
More late inning heroics give Tribe another divisional victory
They say a walk is just as good as a hit.
This proved to be true for the Indians Tuesday night, as the Tribe took advantage of eight free passes in route to a 6-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals to win their fifth straight.
Winners of 15 of their last 20 ballgames, Cleveland (45-38) remains a half game up on the Detroit Tigers for first place in the Central Division.
K.C. starter Luis Mendoza (2-4, 4.41 ERA) helped the Indians get on the board in the very first inning. Loading up the bases with only one out,Carlos Santana worked the count for a bases loaded walk before Mendoza drilled first baseman with a pitch to make the score 2-0.
For a while it looked as though that would be all the runs Tribe right-handerCorey Kluber (6-5, 4.33 ERA) would need, as he limited Kansas City to just one hit through the first four innings.
Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera extended both his hit streak and the Cleveland lead with a two-run single in the top of the fourth off Mendoza. In his first six games since returning from the disabled list, Cabrera has now hit in six straight games batting .391 (9-for-23) with a double, homer and three RBI.
Also continuing his success at the plate was second baseman Jason Kipnis. Fresh off of being named the American League Player of the Week, Kipnis extended his hitting streak to 13 in a row while reaching base for the 33rd straight game.
Kansas City would finally get to Kluber in the home half of the fifth inning. After three straight Royals reached base to lead off the frame, the Tribe right hander would get Jarrod Dyson to fly out before left fielder Alex Gordon teed-off on a 3-0 pitch from Kluber for a game-tying grand slam.
It was Gordon’s second long ball in his last six games after going 42 straight games without a home run prior to June 26.
Kluber lasted just four more batters, as he allowed four runs on four hits through 5 1/3 innings for a no-decision on the night.
With the game still knotted at four in the seventh, the Tribe pulled away against Royals lefty reliever Tim Collins. The hard throwing left-hander walked Cabrera and Kipnis to leadoff the inning before K.C. manager Ned Yost went to another flame thrower in Aaron Crow. He wouldn’t prove much better as he loaded up the bases with nobody out on a walk to Nick Swisher.
Santana gave the Indians the lead with a sacrifice fly to deep center field before designated hitter Jason Giambiripped a RBI double down the first base line to make the score 6-4.
The 42-year-old Giambi went 2-for-4 in the ballgame and is now hitting .360 with runners in scoring position on the season.
The Royals would make things interesting in the eighth off setup man Vinnie Pestano. After Joe Smith pitched a scoreless seventh inning, Pestano would give up a run on a double by Billy Butler before getting Akron nativeDavid Lough to groundout into an inning ending double play with the tying run on third.
With the victory, the Indians move to 5-3 against KC on the year, and seven games over .500 for the first time since May 24.
Left-hander Scott Kazmir (4-4, 4.83 ERA) will take the hill for the Wahoo’s in the second game of the three-game series on Wednesday night against former Indian Jeremy Guthrie (7-6, 4.11 ERA). A victory would give the Tribe six series wins over their last seven matchups.
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