Royals

Eric Hosmer goes yard in ninth, Royals beat Indians 2-1

Eric Hosmer’s 11th home run of the season, a solo shot off Trevor Bauer in the top of the ninth inning, broke up a tie game as the Royals beat the Indians 2-1 on Tuesday night in Cleveland. It was Kansas City’s fourth win in a row.
Eric Hosmer’s 11th home run of the season, a solo shot off Trevor Bauer in the top of the ninth inning, broke up a tie game as the Royals beat the Indians 2-1 on Tuesday night in Cleveland. It was Kansas City’s fourth win in a row. The Associated Press

The cheers at Progressive Field had just faded when Eric Hosmer’s blast raced through the air. A moment after a Kansas City rally appeared to fizzle, Hosmer interrupted a dynamic performance by Cleveland pitcher Trevor Bauer. Hosmer’s ninth-inning solo shot untied a taut contest and put the Royals ahead in a 2-1 victory.

Hosmer unloaded on a curveball from Bauer, who wore a complete-game loss for the woebegone Indians. Hosmer’s 11th homer of the season occurred immediately after Lorenzo Cain was caught trying to steal second base. It appeared Kansas City needed to manufacture a run to topple Bauer. Instead, it only took one swing from Hosmer.

“It’s really exciting,” Hosmer said, completely deadpan, aware of how common victories like this have become. “It’s the final push for the second half. We’re trying to win these ballgames.”

And so the Royals rolled on, winners of four in a row on the field and leaders in the early returns on the trade market. The team acquired Johnny Cueto on Sunday. They added Oakland super-utility man Ben Zobrist on Tuesday afternoon. Then in the evening, they outlasted the Indians.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore has granted many Royals fans' wishes by trading for Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist. What other wishes do fans want Moore to fulfill?

Chris Young gave up only one run, but could not complete the fifth inning. His performance was part of a showcase for his role on the roster.

The arrival of Cueto means a pitcher must leave the starting rotation. The two choices are Young and Jeremy Guthrie. Young’s 3.25 ERA far outstrips Guthrie’s 5.35 mark, but Young has shown signs of regression in the past two months.

Royals manager Ned Yost will also consider the usefulness of each player as a reliever. Young shined as a long man earlier this season. Guthrie has not worked out of the bullpen since his disastrous tenure in Colorado in 2012.

“Chris has shown he can do it,” Yost said. “Guthrie hasn’t. He’s never been put in that position.”

Kansas City climbed ahead in the fourth inning. Lorenzo Cain scalded a slider into right field. Brandon Moss chased down the screamer, and managed to corral it in his glove. But he could not hold on as he collided with the wall. Cain cruised into third base with a triple. Cleveland manager Terry Francona challenged the call, but received no aid from the umpires.

The triple became the second hit of the game for the Royals. Eric Hosmer soon followed with their third. He punched an RBI single just over the reach of leaping shortstop Francisco Lindor.

To tie the game, Cleveland capitalized on Young’s vulnerability holding runners. The Indians stole three bases in the first. Michael Bourn swiped another in the second. Both times, Young navigated through the traffic for scoreless innings.

He could not do the same in the fifth. Bourn led off with a single. Kansas City called for a pitch-out, but the throw from catcher Salvador Perez sailed toward shortstop Alcides Escobar, away from the bag.

Soon after, Bourn jetted from second to third on another steal attempt. Perez made a strong peg toward Mike Moustakas. The ball arrived in Moustakas’s glove, but Bourn dislodged it. He raced home to even the score.

“He was probably out at third on that ball,” Young said. “It led to the run. But he was almost out there. We might win the game, 1-0, if he is out.”

Young departed three batters later. Yost removed him after a single by Jason Kipnis and a walk by Michael Brantley. The outing did not embarrass Young — he yielded only the one run. But it offered little clarity about his future in the Kansas City rotation.

Yost offered no grand pronouncement. He does not have to make a decision until next Tuesday in Detroit.

“Chris got his pitch count up early, but held the fort,” Yost said. “Had no major damage.”

The game segued into a battle between Bauer and Kansas City’s bullpen. Franklin Morales stranded the bases loaded to end the fifth. Ryan Madson logged two scoreless innings, aided by a slick scoop by Hosmer to end the seventh. Wade Davis needed 10 pitches for the eighth inning.

When the ninth began, Bauer was still on the mound. Cain reached base when his grounder shot through the legs of second baseman Jason Kipnis. Bauer utilizes a quick delivery to the plate, but he occasionally leaves a curveball in the dirt. Cain broke on a 2-2 pitch — but it was a fastball. Indians catcher Roberto Perez threw him out.

“He threw a heater,” Cain said. “I didn’t have a chance. But it happens. I was taking a chance, trying to get into scoring position for Hoz. Luckily, the next pitch, he delivered. It all worked out.”

The curveball arrived just as Cain left the diamond. Hosmer was ready. He pulled the ball into the right-field seats.

“I was just trying to see a ball in the zone there, and honestly take it the other way,” Hosmer said. “I think that kept me on the breaking ball right there.”

All that was left for Kansas City was another highlight-reel play to end the evening. Perez hit a grounder up the middle. Omar Infante scooped it and flipped it to Alcides Escobar. He threw across the diamond for the rare 4-6-3 put-out. Two outs later, Kansas City collected another victory.

“Those are games that you’ve got to scratch and claw and try to find a way to win it,” Yost said. “We did.”

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @McCulloughStar.

Royals 2, Indians 1

Royals

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

Escobar ss

4

0

0

0

0

2

.284

Moustakas 3b

4

0

0

0

0

0

.291

L.Cain cf

4

1

1

0

0

1

.313

Hosmer 1b

4

1

3

2

0

0

.313

Morales dh

3

0

0

0

0

0

.284

S.Perez c

3

0

0

0

0

0

.247

Rios rf

3

0

0

0

0

1

.254

Infante 2b

3

0

1

0

0

0

.231

J.Dyson lf

2

0

0

0

1

2

.250

Totals

30

2

5

2

1

6

 

Cleveland

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

Kipnis dh

4

0

3

0

0

0

.330

Lindor ss

4

0

0

0

0

2

.253

Brantley lf

3

0

1

0

1

0

.299

Santana 1b

3

0

1

0

1

1

.225

Moss rf

4

0

0

0

0

2

.217

Urshela 3b

4

0

1

0

0

0

.254

R.Perez c

4

0

0

0

0

2

.223

Bourn cf

3

1

2

0

1

0

.231

Aviles 2b

3

0

0

0

1

0

.229

Totals

32

1

8

0

4

7

 

Kansas City

000

100

001

2

5

1

Cleveland

000

010

000

1

8

1

E: S.Perez (2), Aviles (7). LOB: Kansas City 3, Cleveland 8. 2B: Kipnis (30). 3B: L.Cain (5), Infante (4). HR: Hosmer (11), off Bauer. RBIs: Hosmer 2 (55). SB: Brantley 2 (11), C.Santana (7), Bourn 3 (10). CS: L.Cain (4), Kipnis (6).

Runners left in scoring position: Kansas City 1 (A.Escobar); Cleveland 6 (Moss 4, Kipnis, Brantley). RISP: Kansas City 1 for 2; Cleveland 1 for 6. GIDP: A.Escobar, K.Morales, Aviles. DP: Kansas City 1 (Infante, Hosmer); Cleveland 2 (Lindor, Urshela, C.Santana), (Aviles, Lindor, C.Santana).

Royals

I

H

R

ER

W

K

P

ERA

C.Young

4.2

5

1

1

3

5

96

3.25

F.Morales

0.1

1

0

0

0

0

3

2.16

Madson

2

2

0

0

0

2

17

1.69

Davis W, 7-1

1

0

0

0

0

0

10

0.41

Holland S, 22

1

0

0

0

1

0

10

3.13

Cleveland

I

H

R

ER

W

K

P

ERA

Bauer L, 8-8

9

5

2

2

1

6

112

4.13

Inherited runners-scored: F.Morales 2-0. HBP: by Bauer (K.Morales).

Umpires: Home, Gary Cederstrom; First, Tom Woodring; Second, Eric Cooper; Third, Lance Barksdale. Time: 2:40. Att: 18,064.

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