Royals

Eric Hosmer, Kendrys Morales help Royals punish Indians, 9-4

The Royals Eric Hosmer (left) is congratulated by Mike Moustakas after Hosmer hit a three-run homer off Indians starting pitcher Cody Anderson in the first inning of Monday’s baseball game in Cleveland. Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain (right) scored on the play.
The Royals Eric Hosmer (left) is congratulated by Mike Moustakas after Hosmer hit a three-run homer off Indians starting pitcher Cody Anderson in the first inning of Monday’s baseball game in Cleveland. Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain (right) scored on the play. AP

A strange sound emanated from the Kansas City clubhouse on Monday evening: Silence. There was no music, little chatter and scant signs of excitement after a 9-4 drubbing of the Indians. Lorenzo Cain gazed at his phone. A few others picked at their postgame meals. Eric Hosmer rose up from his seat and shrugged.

“We might be getting used to it,” Hosmer said.

The Royals (60-38) completed a bludgeoning on Monday that was both brutal and, dare we say, boring. There was little suspense and little drama, save for Edinson Volquez jousting with the home-plate umpire. Kansas City leapt to a four-run lead, expanded it to six and hung on for a five-run trouncing of their divisional foes.

The victory set the stage for the impending arrival of Johnny Cueto, who will join the team on Tuesday afternoon. Inside the visiting manager’s office at Progressive Field, a few hours before the game, manager Ned Yost pondered the larger meaning of his team’s recent acquisition of the former Reds ace.

The move was unprecedented in the era of David Glass’s ownership of the franchise and general manager Dayton Moore’s stewardship of the baseball operations department. A year earlier, the team operated as if handcuffed at the July 31 trade deadline, unable to consummate any acquisitions to improve their club until later in August.

Now, several days ahead of the deadline, they have already secured perhaps the best pitcher on the market and still possess the prospects to make additional maneuvers. The aggression signals a faith in the core of this team, a group motivated by their defeat in the seventh game of last year’s World Series.

“I don’t think they need a message,” Yost said. “It just says that Dayton and Mr. Glass are trying to give us every opportunity to be successful.”

Later that evening, his team demonstrated why their front office deemed them worthy of an aggressive push at the deadline. Hosmer sparked Kansas City with a three-run, first-inning homer. Omar Infante supplied his first home run since the 2014 World Series. Kendrys Morales drove in three runs. Cain scored three times.

Volquez (10-5, 3.21 ERA) waged battle with his command and umpire Lance Barksdale, but still finished six innings. He was charged for three runs. Two scored in the seventh, after he gave up a pair of leadoff walks. Joe Blanton promptly surrendered a three-run shot to rookie infielder Francisco Lindor.

“(Volquez) kept the game in total control,” Yost said.

But the homer merely cut Kansas City’s lead to five. They faced Cody Anderson, a 24-year-old rookie making his sixth big-league start. The Royals landed a sizable blow in the first inning. Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain set the table for Hosmer. Moustakas singled. Cain walked.

Anderson had never faced Hosmer before. Their first duel lasted one pitch. Anderson pumped a 94-mph fastball on the outside half of the plate. The heater had little chance of reaching the catcher’s mitt of Yan Gomes. Hosmer powered the ball over Progressive Field’s elevated left-field wall.

“When I try to start pulling balls, that’s when stuff gets out of whack for me,” Hosmer said. “When I think I’m getting a fastball, I just try and tell myself, ‘Nice and easy,’ and stay through the middle. Just don’t miss it.”

Another blast cleared the wall an inning later. This one came from Infante. He had not gone deep in a regular season game since Aug. 13, 2014. Like Hosmer, Infante took advantage of a 94-mph, first-pitch fastball.

“Omar’s got that sneaky pop,” Yost said. “He can jump out there and hit one every once in a while.”

The Kansas City dugout was still celebrating Infante’s homer when Anderson threw his next pitch. The baseball collided with Jarrod Dyson’s right knee. Anderson had never before hit a batter in the major leagues. The Royals did not view the incident as a coincidence.

The bench hollered at both Anderson and Barksdale. The group suggested Anderson should be ejected. Cleveland manager Terry Francona left the dugout to chat with Barksdale as Dyson trotted to first. Anderson stayed in the game, but Barksdale warned both benches.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Volquez said. “You’ve got to keep the same approach, the same gameplan.”

Volquez did not retaliate. Instead he sparred with both the Cleveland lineup and the pliable quadrants of Barksdale’s strike zone.

The Indians fired a salvo in the bottom of the second. The batter was Carlos Santana, who has brutalized Kansas City pitching for years. Santana blistered a 94-mph fastball for a solo home run.

An inning later, Volquez contended with an Indians rally begun by a questionable walk. A 3-2 pitch to outfielder Michael Brantley appeared to cross the inner half of the plate. Barksdale awarded Brantley first base instead. A single by designated hitter David Murphy brought the tying run to the plate – in the form of Santana.

Volquez managed to induce a flyout from Santana that drove Cain to the warning track. A batter later, Volquez flipped a 1-2 changeup to slugger Brandon Moss that could have gone either way. Barksdale called a ball. Volquez looked disgusted when he fanned Moss with a changeup on the next pitch. Volquez picked up another flyball out to strand the runners, but he would continue a dialogue with Barksdale.

“I was just trying to wake him up,” Volquez said. “I threw a couple of good, really close pitches. He called them balls. I just waited for him to come to the mound and say, ‘Come on, let’s go. Give me those pitches!’”

Kansas City resumed pounding Anderson in the fifth. Alcides Escobar led off with a double. Cain walked for the second time. Hosmer singled to right for his fourth RBI.

Despite the deficit and the obvious trouble, Francona stuck with Anderson. He had already yielded one hit to Morales. Now he gave up another. Morales smashed a two-run double to bush Kansas City’s lead to six runs.

“We really did a nice job of getting to him,” Hosmer said. “And giving Volquez a nice lead.”

Morales added an RBI single in the seventh. Salvador Perez joined the fray with a sacrifice fly. The Indians could not touch Volquez. And the Royals steamed ahead, ready to welcome Johnny Cueto on Tuesday.

“It’s a fun team,” Yost said. “We do a lot of things well. It’s a nice, loose atmosphere. We’re playing really good baseball.”

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4730 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @McCulloughStar. Download True Blue, The Star’s free Royals app, here.


Royals 9, Indians 4

Royals

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

A.Escobar ss

5

1

1

0

0

0

.287

Moustakas 3b

5

1

1

0

0

0

.294

L.Cain cf

2

3

1

0

2

0

.313

Orlando lf

1

0

0

0

0

0

.242

Hosmer 1b

5

3

3

4

0

0

.308

K.Morales dh

5

0

3

3

0

0

.287

S.Perez c

4

0

0

1

0

0

.249

Rios rf

3

0

0

0

1

2

.257

Infante 2b

4

1

1

1

0

0

.230

J.Dyson lf-cf

3

0

1

0

0

1

.254

Totals

37

9

11

9

3

3

Cleveland

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

Kipnis 2b

4

1

3

0

1

0

.326

Lindor ss

5

1

1

3

0

0

.260

Brantley lf

3

0

1

0

2

0

.298

Dav.Murphy dh

4

0

1

0

0

0

.296

C.Santana 1b

4

1

1

1

0

1

.224

Moss rf

3

0

1

0

1

2

.220

Y.Gomes c

4

0

0

0

0

1

.223

Bourn cf

4

0

0

0

0

1

.226

Urshela 3b

3

1

1

0

1

1

.254

Totals

34

4

9

4

5

6

Royals

310

030

200

9

11

0

Cleveland

010

000

300

4

9

1

E: Lindor (6). LOB: Kansas City 6, Cleveland 8. 2B: A.Escobar (17), K.Morales (26). 3B: J.Dyson (5). HR: Hosmer (10), off Co.Anderson; Infante (1), off Co.Anderson; C.Santana (11), off Volquez; Lindor (4), off Blanton. RBIs: Hosmer 4 (53), K.Morales 3 (68), S.Perez (42), Infante (29), Lindor 3 (15), C.Santana (44). SF: S.Perez.

Runners left in scoring position: Kansas City 4 (Rios, Moustakas, Infante, S.Perez); Cleveland 3 (Lindor 2, Y.Gomes). RISP: Kansas City 4 for 12; Cleveland 2 for 7. Runners moved up: Moustakas, Hosmer, K.Morales, S.Perez, C.Santana. GIDP: Infante, Lindor. DP: Kansas City 2 (L.Cain, L.Cain, S.Perez), (Infante, A.Escobar, Hosmer); Cleveland 1 (Kipnis, Lindor, C.Santana).

Royals

I

H

R

ER

W

K

P

ERA

Volquez W, 10-5

6

6

3

3

5

4

111

3.21

Blanton S, 2

3

3

1

1

0

2

35

3.89

Cleveland

I

H

R

ER

W

K

P

ERA

Andersn L, 2-2

5.2

8

7

7

2

2

81

3.26

Rzpcznski

0.1

3

2

2

0

0

11

4.43

Manship

1

0

0

0

1

0

11

1.17

A.Adams

2

0

0

0

0

1

27

2.95

Rzepczynski pitched to 3 batters in the 7th. Volquez pitched to 2 batters in the 7th.

Inherited runners-scored: Blanton 2-2, Rzepczynski 1-0, Manship 2-1. HBP: by Co.Anderson (J.Dyson).

Umpires: Home, Lance Barksdale; First, Gary Cederstrom; Second, Tom Woodring; Third, Eric Cooper. Time: 2:59. Att: 13,611.

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