Royals

The Royals’ losing streak is finally over. And they ended it in style

Alex Gordon (left) was congratulated at home plate by teammates Jorge Soler (center) and Adalberto Mondesi (27) after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Alex Gordon (left) was congratulated at home plate by teammates Jorge Soler (center) and Adalberto Mondesi (27) after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium. AP

A day after a ball popped out of an outfielder’s glove, prolonging a streak of failure, Royals manager Ned Yost sat in a dugout and re-lived it all. “I went home mad,” he said, then detailed the toll of 10 consecutive losses.

Hours later, the Royals supplied one more example of baseball’s built-in emotional wave. Because as bad as it’s been for as long as it’s been, they sure picked a heck of a way to bust out.

The first six batters the Royals brought to the plate scored, sparking an 8-1 victory Friday against the Cleveland Indians, Kansas City’s first win since the opening series of the season.

“It was a (good) vibe in the clubhouse,” said starting pitcher Brad Keller, who piled a career-best 10 strikeouts to pick up his second win of the season. “And to get six runs right away felt good, especially after last night.”

If you’re going to end a skid, there are few better ways to do it. They left the game in little doubt from the opening inning in front of 11,950 at Kauffman Stadium.

Let’s reconstruct it: Whit Merrifield led off with a single; Adalberto Mondesi tripled; Alex Gordon homered; Jorge Soler walked; Ryan O’Hearn singled; Hunter Dozer singled; and after back-to-back outs, Chris Owings doubled home the fifth and sixth runs. It’s the most productive inning of the season and the most impactful first inning since last May. Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco lasted only 28 pitches before Cleveland manager Terry Francona offered him relief.

The Royals weren’t done, either. Well, more specifically, Gordon wasn’t done.

He had four hits. He followed the first-inning jack with a double in the second and another double in the fourth that he nearly stretched into a triple, which would have left him just a single shy of the cycle. He picked up that single in the eighth to complete his 13th career four-hit game.

It came on a special night, too. Gordon was wearing a yellow armband, “Charlie” written on it, as a tribute to a kid battling cancer supported by his Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Charlie underwent an operation Friday, according to a team official.

“I didn’t tell him I was going to hit a home run, but I think it was kind of meant to be,” Gordon said. “I had goosebumps going around the bases. I wanted to make sure I tapped him and let him see it. It was pretty special.”

While wearing an armband for a kid battling cancer, Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon hit a home run and had four hits in a win.

What a stark contrast from the feeling overriding Yost a day earlier. On Thursday, the Royals were on the verge of ending the losing streak at nine, but the potential final out of the game didn’t stick in center fielder Billy Hamilton’s glove. The Mariners tied the game on the play, which resulted in Hamilton being carted off the field, and then won in extra innings.

A subsequent MRI test showed Hamilton escaped serious injury, but the losing streak remained.

Early Friday, it was clear that wouldn’t last, either. After losing his franchise-record 31-game hitting streak Thursday, Merrifield’s first swing resulted in a single down the first-base line. The initial six hitters scored. Merrifield had three hits. Mondesi has four triples this year.

On the mound, Keller (2-1) pitched himself out of trouble. Even after a shaky start. Eight pitches into the game, Royals catcher Martin Maldonado emerged from his squat and trotted to the mound to visit with Keller. Six of those eight fell outside home plate Paul Emmel’s strike zone.

The next three struck out Jose Ramirez, the top threat in Cleveland’s lineup. And Keller promptly struck out the next two hitters to end the first inning. He set a new career-high with 10 strikeouts in the game. Sidestepping the occasional issue with his command, Keller allowed just one run in 6 2/3 innings. He departed the mound to a standing ovation after a career-high 118 pitches.

“I felt good (into the seventh),” Keller said. “I don’t think it bothered me much. My goal was to go out and pump strikes and prove to them I could go out there and pitch after 105 (pitches).”

Royals 8, Indians 1

Cleveland

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Martin cf

2

0

1

0

2

1

.250

Moroff 2b

1

0

0

0

0

0

.087

J.Ramirez 3b

4

0

1

0

0

2

.146

Bauers lf

4

0

0

0

0

1

.171

Santana 1b

1

0

0

0

3

1

.415

H.Ramirez dh

4

0

1

0

0

0

.194

Naquin rf

4

1

1

1

0

2

.294

R.Perez c

4

0

0

0

0

3

.148

Miller 2b

3

0

0

0

0

0

.207

Allen ph-cf

1

0

0

0

0

0

.045

Stamets ss

3

0

0

0

1

2

.059



Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Merrifield 2b

5

2

3

0

0

0

.328

Mondesi ss

5

1

1

1

0

3

.296

Gordon lf

5

1

4

3

0

1

.390

Soler rf

4

1

0

0

1

2

.231

O’Hearn 1b

3

1

1

0

1

0

.212

Dozier 3b

4

1

2

0

1

1

.225

Duda dh

2

0

0

1

1

0

.118

Maldonado c

3

0

0

0

1

2

.167

Owings cf

4

1

2

2

0

0

.170



Cleveland

010

000

000

1

4

2

Kansas City

600

101

00x

8

13

0

E—J.Ramirez (1), Miller (2). LOB—Cleveland 10, Kansas City 10. 2B—J.Ramirez (3), Merrifield (3), Gordon 2 (5), Owings (3). 3B—Mondesi (4). HR—Naquin (1), off Keller; Gordon (3), off Carrasco. RBIs—Naquin (2), Mondesi (10), Gordon 3 (13), Duda (3), Owings 2 (4). SB—Merrifield (5), Owings (3). SF—Duda.

Runners left in scoring position—Cleveland 5 (H.Ramirez 4, Allen); Kansas City 7 (Merrifield, Soler, O’Hearn, Dozier 2, Maldonado, Owings). RISP—Cleveland 0 for 7; Kansas City 4 for 17.

Runners moved up—Duda. GIDP—Duda.

DP—Cleveland 1 (Santana, Stamets).

Cleveland

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Carrasco, L, 1-2

2/3

6

6

6

1

1

28

12.60

Wittgren

1 1/3

1

0

0

0

2

18

0.00

Olson

2

2

1

1

0

2

29

1.50

Otero

1

2

1

0

1

0

21

0.00

O.Perez

1

0

0

0

0

2

14

5.40

Edwards

1

0

0

0

2

0

22

1.80

Ramirez

1

2

0

0

1

2

27

4.50

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Keller, W, 2-1

6 2/3

3

1

1

5

10

118

2.45

Diekman

1 1/3

1

0

0

1

1

27

3.86

Kennedy

1

0

0

0

0

1

9

1.29

Otero pitched to 2 batters in the 6th.

Inherited runners-scored—Wittgren 1-0, O.Perez 2-1, Diekman 1-0. HBP—Keller (J.Ramirez), Edwards (O’Hearn). WP—Keller.

Umpires—Home, Paul Emmel; First, Bruce Dreckman; Second, Manny Gonzalez; Third, Mike Estabrook.

T—3:10. A—11,950 (37,903).



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