The trends appeared to favor the Royals on Sunday.
Top starter Danny Duffy was on the mound looking to punctuate the Royals’ long road trip with a series sweep, which hasn’t happened at Progressive Field since 2003.
The Indians entered the game with the worst home record in the American League and as losers of five straight on their home field.
So much for trends.
The Indians made it look easy in a 10-1 victory. They collected 18 hits against four Royals pitchers, the most allowed by the club this season, while starter Josh Tomlin pitched the fifth complete game of his eight-year career.
The Royals dropped to 21-28 overall and 4-5 on the road trip.
If one play summarized Duffy’s frustrating day, it came in the fifth when Michael Brantley opened the inning by hitting a sharp grounder to first baseman Eric Hosmer.
Duffy got a late break from the mound. He would have won the race anyway, but he didn’t get his foot down on the bag after taking Hosmer’s toss and took a tumble.
“It was a lack of execution in that situation,” Duffy said. “Any ground ball to the right side we’re taught to get over. I was a tick late, tried to overcorrect and I ate it.”
Duffy didn’t record another out. He surrendered six runs in four innings in his shortest outing of the season, marking only the third time in 11 starts that he yielded more than two runs in a game. Duffy, who gave up nine hits and walked three, entered the game with 2.92 ERA and left at 3.54 while falling to 4-4.
“I didn’t execute anything,” Duffy said. “I was flying open. I just wasn’t very good. I didn’t give my team a chance to win the game at any point.”
Duffy’s inability to maneuver through the bottom of the Indians order got him in the hole in the third inning.
After Austin Jackson led off with a single and on a full count, eighth-place hitter Roberto Perez walked. Both runners scored after Erik Gonzalez’s sacrifice bunt and singles by Jason Kipnis and Brantley.
“The first two innings went by good,” Duffy said. “But they started jumping on my fastball. Then you have to make an adjustment, and I wasn’t executing with my off-speed. It wasn’t a fun day at the park today.”
The Royals bullpen parade Sunday included Miguel Almonte, who was making his first major league appearance since Sept. 28, 2015. He also had a rough go, surrendering three runs on four hits in the sixth.
The Royals offense was contained to one big swing. Jorge Bonifacio walloped Josh Tomlin’s hanging curve ball 437 feet into the left field seats in the fifth inning.
Bonifacio’s seventh home run came in the rookie’s 31st major league game. He homered in five of the nine games on the road trip.
One out later, Whit Merrifield singled to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest by a Royals player this season.
But aside from those and Hosmer’s two doubles, the day included few highlights for the Royals against Tomlin, who has surrendered two runs in 16 innings against the Royals this season.
“He’s always good against us,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He seldom makes mistakes against us.”
Sunday, Tomlin twirled the second complete game by an Indians pitcher this season. He gave up six hits, struck out three and didn’t walk a batter.
“He pounds the zone,” Merrifield said. “And we’re an aggressive team. When you get a guy like that you’re going to get a complete game or he’ll be out in two innings. Today he just happened to throw a complete game.”