The Royals finally snapped their 12-game losing streak Wednesday night as Kansas City finally beat the Indians (9-7) in game two of a three-game set at Progressive Field.
The Indians found themselves in the hole almost immediately as Ubaldo Jimenez struggled to find his rhythm in the top of the first. He started the game by allowing a leadoff walk to Chris Getz, who scored two batters later on Billy Butler‘s two-run homer. Jimenez worked himself into another jam as Eric Hosmer and Jeff Francoeur singled on consecutive pitches, but he managed to hold the Royals to two runs in the first.
Jimenez settled down after the first and combined with Kansas City starter Luke Hochevar to keep both teams’ bats quiet for the next few innings. The score remained 2-0 Royals until Hosmer took Jimenez deep for another two-run shot in the fifth inning to make it a 4-0 game.
The Indians finally got to Hochevar in the sixth. With the bases loaded and just one out, Michael Brantley put the Tribe on the board scored from third on Travis Hafner‘s fielder’s choice. Cleveland got another run in the seventh via Aaron Cunningham‘s RBI single, but that was all the Indians could muster.
Up 4-2 in the ninth, Kansas City’s bats came alive against Jairo Asencio. Alex Gordon took Asencio deep for a three-run homer, and Butler followed with a solo shot three pitches later to give the Royals an 8-2 lead. The Indians went quietly in the ninth and Kansas City emerged victorious for the first time in two weeks.
The Good: Cheesy at it sounds, this team did not give up. The Indians were behind all game but they were in it until the end, and in both the sixth and seventh innings it looked like they were on the verge of making a comeback. It’s not much, but it was the only real bright spot in a pretty bad game.
The Bad: The pitching. Four runs on six hits isn’t terrible for a six-inning start, but that Ubaldo Jimenez allowed as many home runs as he got strikeouts (two) while walking three was quite discouraging—take away the first inning and his line looks better, but the walks and strikeouts are still concerning as his struggles with them have been the norm this year.
The Tribe’s relievers didn’t look very good either. Jairo Asencio is really struggling with the long ball, and while he ended up escaping the jam Rafael Perez didn’t look like himself at all. The Indians’ struggles with runners in scoring position also continued—the sixth and seventh innings both had the makings of rallies but Cleveland couldn’t come up with any big hits.
The “Huh?”: With Shin-Soo Choo on the shelf, Aaron Cunningham got the start in left field. This despite the fact that Cunningham has really struggled to make even routine throws from the outfield this year. Left fielder Shelley Duncan‘s arm is almost certainly better than Cunningham’s, so it would have made more sense to play Cunningham in left and move Duncan over to right.
Interesting Tidbit: When Jason Donald ran out to left field in place of Shin-Soo Choo Tuesday night, it wasn’t just his MLB debut in the outfield—it was the first time he’d played outside the infield in his entire seven-year professional career.