May 24, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber (28) pitches in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals Defeat Cleveland Indians 9-5 In Series Opener

After a wild night in Texas, the Indians fell 9-5 to the Kansas City Royals. Although the defense was partially to blame, Tribe starter Corey Kluber had an uncharacteristically bad outing, lasting just five innings. Although he struck out five, he gave up six runs, including three earned, along with six hits and two walks. Royals’ lefty Jason Vargas went 7 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits, walking none and striking out five. The Tribe bullpen contributed to the damage, combining to give up three additional runs.

Key Innings
Bottom of the 3rd, tied 0-0
After setting the Royals down in order on 17 total pitches during the first two innings, Kluber seemed to have things under control. He then walked Mike Moustakas and allowed a single to Alcides Escobar, before facing the speedy Jarrod Dyson. With one out, he got Dyson to ground into what should have been a double play, but Asdrubal Cabrera dropped the ball in his hurry to turn two. With the bases loaded, Omar Infante singled to drive in the first run, and Eric Hosmer contributed an RBI ground out. Billy Butler singled to right field to make the score 4-0 before the Indians could escape the inning.

Top of the 8th, Indians trail 6-0
A two-run blast by Butler in the fifth inning had put the Royals up 6-0, but the Tribe tried to stage a comeback in the eighth. With two outs, Cabrera singled to center field, and Michael Brantley was hit by a pitch. Jason Kipnis doubled to score both runners and knock Vargas out of the game. With Tim Collins pitching, Carlos Santana hit an RBI single to center field and brought the Tribe within three runs.

Bottom of the 8th, Indians trail 6-3
Before the Indians even had time to savor their first runs of the game, Alex Gordon launched a leadoff home run into the right field seats. Reliever Nick Hagadone was replaced by Scott Atchison, who allowed a single to Lorenzo Cain before giving up a towering two-run shot to right field off the bat of Moustakas.

Top of the 9th, Indians trail 9-3
A pair of leadoff singles by Lonnie Chisenhall and Ryan Raburn set the tone for one last comeback attempt. Kipnis followed with an RBI double, and Cabrera later hit a sacrifice fly, but the team wasn’t able to overcome the Royals’ lead.

The Positives

Chisenhall continued his season-long hot streak with a pair of hits and a run scored. Santana also had two hits, along with an RBI, which is a good sign. Carlos Carrasco pitched an 1 2/3 innings, allowing just one hit, despite pitching in last night’s game as well.

The Negatives

The defense took a step back again. After playing fairly clean baseball for several games, the Tribe’s fielders looked sloppy and unprepared. Kipnis made a clean throw to Cabrera in the third inning, only to watch the ball fall out of the shortstop’s glove. Rather than a double play, all of the runners were safe. Later in the inning, Santana bobbled a double-play ball at first base and was only able to get the runner at first by tossing to Kluber. Both mistakes cost the Tribe.

Check It Out

– Before Tuesday’s game, the Royals as a team had just 28 home runs. Hosmer, Moustakas and Butler each hit one against the Tribe in the series opener, but Kansas City still ranks last in home runs.

– The Indians’ .333 on-base percentage is the second highest in the AL, trailing only the Oakland A’s. At .306, the Royals have the second worst OBP in the league — reaching base just slightly more often than the Seattle Mariners.

– When the Tribe threatened in the ninth, Kansas City was forced to have closer Greg Holland warm up in the bullpen despite beginning the inning with a six-run lead. Holland is a near-perfect 18-for-19 in save opportunities this season, with a FIP of 1.26 and a WHIP of just .973. He has also struck out 38 batters in 24.2 innings.

Tags: Cleveland Indians Corey Kluber

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