Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Danny Salazar worked his way out of jams in the early part of his turn in the rotation against the Kansas City Royals, but in the fifth inning, he struggled to get outs and that proved to be his and the team’s downfall.
The Royals (10-18) scored twice in the bottom of the fifth inning and added another run in the sixth on the way to a 3-1 victory over the Indians (15-13) in an American League Central Division clash at Kauffman Stadium Friday night.
Second baseman Whit Merrifield started the fifth inning with a single to center field and third baseman Mike Moustakas followed with a single to right field. Both Merrifield and Moustakas hit the first pitch from Salazar in their respective at-bats.
Although center fielder Lorenzo Cain grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, first baseman Eric Hosmer picked him up when he blasted a two-run home run over the wall in center field. Hosmer’s third home run of the season drove in Merrifield.
After a fourth straight hit, this one a single from catcher Salvador Perez on a 3-0 pitch, the Indians went to the bullpen and pulled Salazar for left-handed specialist Boone Logan. Logan induced an inning-ending groundout to second base.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, right fielder Jorge Bonifacio smacked a 1-1 pitch into left field for a single, and after former Indians outfielder/designated hitter Brandon Moss struck out swinging, shortstop Alcides Escobar doubled to left field.
Although Indians left fielder Michael Brantley dove to stop the ball from rolling to the wall, shortstop Francisco Lindor lost a grip on the ball while trying to relay a throw to catcher Roberto Perez, and that hiccup allowed Bonifacio to score Kansas City’s third run of the game without a challenge.
The Indians’ lone run of the game came on a home run from designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion in the top of the fourth inning. Encarnacion’s home run was one of just three hits against the Royals.