Ventura, Moustakas lead Royals over Indians, 7-1
Tribe bats once again come up empty in front of a sold out Progressive Field
CLEVELAND—Just call him, Ace Ventura.
It didn’t take much for Royals starter Yordano Ventura (6-7, 3.07 ERA) to solve a stagnant Indians offense Friday night. Holding the Tribe to just one run over 8 1/3 innings, Kansas City cruised to a 7-1 victory in the series opener of a three-game weekend series.
“His stuff is pretty electric,” manager Terry Francona said. “We didn’t have many hits, but I thought we had a decent approach against him.”
The rookie Ventura improves to 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA against the Indians this season, surrendering just two runs over 15 1/3 innings.
“He throws 100 MPH and has a good changeup and a good curveball,” centerfielder Michael Bourn said. “He’s a pitcher you want to try and get early and not have him settle in. We had a couple of chances, but for the most part he was on tonight and kept us off-balanced.”
The lone hiccup from Ventura came off the bat of All-Star candidate Michael Brantley, who took the right-hander deep for his team-leading 13th home run in the ninth in front of a sold out Progressive Field on Independence Day.
Since Opening Day 2012, the Tribe has now dropped six of the last seven sold out games at their home ballpark, having been outscored by the opposition, 43-22.
Coming off one of the best performances in Indians history, starter Josh Tomlin (5-6, 4.11 ERA) showed he was human Friday. With Kansas City leading 2-0 with two outs and two runners on in the sixth, Tomlin gave up the biggest blow of the night.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas yanked a 3-2 pitch from the right-hander into the lower deck in right field for a three-run homer, and they never looked back.
“I thought he pitched better than his line score,” Francona said. “Obviously the three-run homer kind of skewed it a little bit, but he kept it manageable.”
For Moustakas, four of his nine homers this season have now come via Indians pitching.
“I made a few mistakes throughout some sequences, but I felt like I made the pitches overall for the most part,” Tomlin said. “When you make a mistake like that, and a guy hits a three-run homer and it kind of deflates the team a little bit, that’s on the pitcher. I’ve got a do a better job in that situation.”
The Tribe right-hander has now served up 10 home runs in 12 appearances this year.
“It was just a cutter that caught too much of the plate,” he said. “It was something that I wasn’t trying to do, but every now and then you make mistakes and a big league hitter capitalized on it.”
Cleveland (41-44) slip to 3-4 against K.C. while also dropping eight of their last 12 ballgames.
“We know where we stand, three games under .500,” Bourn said. “We’re just trying to close this first half before the All-Star break kind of strong and see where we end up.”
Having won 10 consecutive home games at one point last month, Cleveland has now lost four straight at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
Up next for Indians: The Tribe looks to even up the series with K.C. in the middle game of the three-game series Saturday night. Southpaw rookie T.J. House (0-2, 4.28 ERA) will make his seventh big league start opposite Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (5-6, 3.69 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And don't ask why Lonnie is batting below cabby and kipnis and Santana? Or gomes for that matter?