With a visit from the Kansas City Royals, who had dropped five straight to the Indians, you would have thought it was time for the public address system at Progressive Field to crank up the standard tune “Just In Time” for the Tribe, which is winding up a tough month of July and continues to play poorly after the All-Star Break.
But it was the Royals, fresh from a split of a 4-game series at Fenway Park against Boston, who turned the tables and grabbed a 12-0 win before 35,390 on Dollar Dog and Fireworks Night at Progressive Field.
The Indians, who have now dropped three in a row and four of five in an 8-game home stand that ends with Kansas City’s visit, were limited to just five hits after being no-hit on Wednesday by Los Angeles Angel pitcher Ervin Santana.
And the five hits for Cleveland did not prevent the Indians from being shutout for the 11th time this season in a game that found the Royals club four home runs. The big blow was a grand slam from Melky Cabrera in a 4-run fourth that pushed Kansas City to a 7-0 lead on Carlos Carrasco, (8-9) who has lost his last five decisions and has not won since defeating Arizona in Phoenix on June 29.
The blitzing by the Royals, who earlier in the season lost a 19-1 decision to the Indians, also found each Kansas City starter with at least one hit and six batters with at least two. The Royals ended the night with three players with multiple RBI led by Cabrera with his four on the grand slam.
The Royals also got three RBI each from Billy Butler, who drove in two with his 11th home run in the first and another run with his 12th homer in the eighth and Alex Gordon, who hit a solo shot in the second. Gordon’s other RBI came on a 2-run double in the seventh.
Collecting at least two hits for the Royals besides Gordon, Butler and Cabrera were Alcides Escobar, who had a 3-for-4 night with an RBI and run scored along with Jeff Francoeur, who scored twice and Brayan Pena, who drove in one and scored once.
Cleveland, which has scored just seven runs in six games during the current home stand, had two hits from Orlando Cabrera as Jeff Francis (4-11) went eight innings, allowing four hits with a walk and six strike outs.
Carrasco on the other hand, was ejected with one out in the fourth after throwing over the head of Butler, who came to bat right after Cabrera’s grand slam home run. Carrasco allowed seven runs on seven hits with three walks and a strike out in 3.1 innings.
The first of Orlando Cabrera’s two hits for Cleveland was a single with one out in the second, ending any chance of the Tribe being no-hit for the second consecutive game.
The only scoring chances for Cleveland against Francis came in the third when Michael Brantley doubled with two out and in the fourth when Carlos Santana had a one out double.
With the win by Francis, four of the five pitchers to defeat the Indians in their current home stand have records of .500 or less with only Jered Weaver (14-4) sporting a winning record among those to defeat Cleveland since the Indians returned home.
The Cleveland debut of Kosuke Fukudome saw the former Chicago Cub go 0-for-4. Batting sixth and playing right field, Fukudone struck out in the second and grounded out to the right side of the infield in the fourth, seventh and ninth innings, making the last out of the game.
Fukudome came to the Indians on Thursday in a trade for two minor league players while the Tribe designated outfielder Travis Buck for assignment to make room for Fukudome on the 25-man roster.
Cleveland, 52-51 with the loss, dropped to 10-14 for the month of July and fell 2-1/2 games behind Detroit (56-50) in the American League Central Division standings as the Tigers defeated Los Angeles 12-2. Chicago (52-52) drew to within 1/2 game of the Indians by defeating visting Boston, 3-1.