Royals

Royals avoid no-hitter, but are shut out by Indians 6-0

The Royals' Alex Rios (15) smiles at Indians first baseman Carlos Santana (41) after a single in the seventh inning for the first Kansas City hit against Cleveland starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco during Friday's baseball game at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals' Alex Rios (15) smiles at Indians first baseman Carlos Santana (41) after a single in the seventh inning for the first Kansas City hit against Cleveland starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco during Friday's baseball game at Kauffman Stadium. JSLEEZER@KCSTAR.COM

Relief flooded through Kauffman Stadium at 9:15 p.m. Friday. The crowd was restless, annoyed by the hapless at-bats of the Royals and the relative surrender issued by their manager before the game. At the very least, in this 6-0 loss to Cleveland, the Royals could avoid the embarrassment of being no-hit.

Until the seventh inning, that scenario appeared possible. But Alex Rios, one of only two starters inserted into the lineup by manager Ned Yost the day after the team clinched the American League Central, managed to smack a single into center field against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco. The crowd greeted Rios with applause, one of the few times for cheers on Friday.

“Nervous? I don’t really get nervous,” manager Ned Yost said. “I was a little concerned.” He burst out laughing. “A little concerned.”

Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost discusses giving his key players a day off after clinching the AL Central Division Championship, and preparing the team for the playoffs. Video by John Sleezer/The Kansas City Star

The Royals have only been no-hit twice in their history, with Nolan Ryan in 1973 and Jon Lester in 2008 doing the honors. Facing a lineup of rookies and backups, Carrasco appeared set to join that group. Despite giving up the one hit, he struck out 15 during a shutout. In the final three innings, he went through a stretch of six straight strikeouts.

“He was electric,” Yost said. “Simply electric … That was as good of stuff as we’ve seen all year long.”

With the loss, the Royals, 89-64, saw their lead over Toronto for home-field advantage fall to one game. When the season began, Yost explained, he set three regular-season goals: Win the division, win the All-Star Game to secure home-field advantage in the World Series and finish with the American League’s best record.

The American League won the Midsummer Classic in July. The Royals outpaced their competitors in the Central. Now they must hold off the Blue Jays. Yost paused that pursuit to rest his starters on Friday. The timing was unfortunate.

“I do not regret it one single bit,” Yost said. “It’s important. These guys have been playing their tails off. They accomplished something special. I wanted them to celebrate it. And I didn’t want to cut their celebration short, thinking ‘I’ve got to play tomorrow.’”

Only two regulars played, with Rios in right field and Ben Zobrist at second base. Drew Butera handled first base. Francisco Pena caught. Save for Jarrod Dyson and Jonny Gomes, everyone else in the lineup was a rookie: Christian Colon, Cheslor Cuthbert and Paulo Orlando.

“We’ll get back after it tomorrow,” Yost said before the game. “I’m going to give them a day to kind of relish in it.”

He added, “These guys have gone hard. It was a special day yesterday. Let them catch their breath, get refocused now that they’ve accomplished the main goal that we wanted to accomplish this year.”

The atmosphere before the game reflected the achievement. A high-powered vacuum hummed. Clubhouse attendants sprayed air freshener around the room. Empty bottles resided in lockers.

A minute past 7 p.m., the Royals raised a flag to commemorate their title. There was little wind to spread the cloth across the sky, but the fans still greeted its arrival with cheers.

From that point forward, there was little to applaud.

In the game’s second at-bat, Indians infielder José Ramirez smashed a fastball from Edinson Volquez for a solo homer. In the next inning, Volquez gave up a two-run shot to rookie outfielder Abraham Almonte on a waist-high curveball.

“In the first two innings, they put good swings on the ball,” Volquez said. “I think that was the whole game for me.”

Volquez recovered and completed six innings without giving up another run. The trouble was his teammates could not mount anything against Carrasco. He walked Drew Butera in the third inning. He walked Christian Colon in the sixth. Otherwise, Carrasco blazed through the order twice while only facing one over the minimum.

“I don’t know if he made a mistake all night,” Butera said. “He pitched really well. Changed speeds. And obviously had that wipeout slider.”

In the seventh, the game faded out of reach for Kansas City. Franklin Morales yielded a two-run homer to catcher Roberto Perez. Morales could not complete the inning and needed to be replaced by Danny Duffy, another lefty competing for a spot on the playoff roster.

Duffy picked up two outs to finish the inning. Soon after, Rios recorded a hit. The loss still counted. But at least there was no historic ignominy.

“Carrasco,” Yost said, “would have beat anybody tonight.”

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.

Friday’s box score

Indians 6, Royals 0

TableStyle: SP-basebattersCCI Template: SP-basebatters

Cleveland

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

Kipnis 2b

5

0

2

0

0

1

.302

Jo.Ramirez 3b

5

1

2

1

0

0

.217

Lindor ss

4

0

0

1

1

0

.317

C.Santana 1b

2

0

0

0

3

2

.234

Chisenhall rf

5

0

0

0

0

1

.246

C.Johnson dh

4

1

1

0

0

2

.333

A.Almonte cf

3

2

1

2

1

0

.255

R.Perez c

4

1

1

2

0

0

.224

M.Martinez lf

3

1

1

0

1

2

.300

Totals

35

6

8

6

6

8

 

TableStyle: SP-basebattersCCI Template: SP-basebatters

Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

J.Dyson cf

4

0

0

0

0

1

.245

Zobrist 2b

4

0

0

0

0

3

.282

Rios rf

3

0

1

0

0

1

.270

Orlando lf

3

0

0

0

0

3

.247

J.Gomes dh

3

0

0

0

0

3

.143

Cuthbert 3b

3

0

0

0

0

1

.233

C.Colon ss

2

0

0

0

1

1

.293

Butera 1b

2

0

0

0

1

1

.206

F.Pena c

3

0

0

0

0

1

.000

Totals

27

0

1

0

2

15

 

TableStyle: SP-basebyinningsCCI Template: SP-basebyinnings

Cleveland

120

000

201

6

8

1

Kansas City

000

000

000

0

1

0

E: Jo.Ramirez (10). LOB: Cleveland 8, Kansas City 2. 2B: Kipnis (40). HR: Jo.Ramirez (5), off Volquez; A.Almonte (5), off Volquez; R.Perez (6), off F.Morales. RBIs: Jo.Ramirez (22), Lindor (45), A.Almonte 2 (19), R.Perez 2 (19).

Runners left in scoring position: Cleveland 5 (Chisenhall 4, Lindor); Kansas City 1 (J.Dyson). RISP: Cleveland 0 for 8; Kansas City 0 for 1. Runners moved up: F.Pena. GIDP: F.Pena. DP: Cleveland 1 (Jo.Ramirez, Kipnis, C.Santana).

TableStyle: SP-basepitchersCCI Template: SP-basepitchers

Cleveland

IP

H

R

ER

W

K

ERA

Carrasco W, 14-11

9

1

0

0

2

15

3.44

TableStyle: SP-basepitchersCCI Template: SP-basepitchers

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

W

K

ERA

Volquez L, 13-9

6

4

3

3

2

7

3.65

F.Morales

0.1

3

2

2

1

1

3.13

D.Duffy

0.2

0

0

0

1

0

4.20

M.Almonte

1

0

0

0

0

0

5.87

Alexander

1

1

1

1

2

0

4.50

Inherited runners-scored: D.Duffy 2-0.

Umpires: Home, Dana DeMuth; First, Mike Estabrook; Second, Ed Hickox; Third, Paul Nauert. Time: 2:43. Att: 37,049.

Related stories from Kansas City Star

  Comments