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Lindor's two home runs, seven RBI-night paces Tribe

By PAUL HOYNES • Updated Jul 2, 2018 at 11:49 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Corey Kluber made it out of the second inning Monday night and Francisco Lindor kept hitting the ball out of the park. That's not a bad formula to win a ballgame.

Kluber followed the shortest start of his career with six decent innings, and Lindor drove in seven runs with two homers as the Indians beat the reeling Royals, 9-3, at Kauffman Stadium on Monday night.

The Royals, 5-21 in June, have lost four straight.

On Sunday, the Indians beat the A's, 15-3, with 20 hits. Lindor was the driving force in that game with two doubles, a homer and four runs. He continued that style of play Monday night.

He did it in a way that Tribe manager Terry Francona would appreciate. Francona, the last two days, has talked about what the Indians do offensively when they're at their best. He's talked about them going first to third, moving runners, hitting the opposite way and keeping the line moving.

In the second inning, with the Tribe down, 2-0, Rajai Davis hit a leadoff double. Lindor promptly moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt and reached first when KC starter Jakob Junis (5-10, 5.13) couldn't handle the ball cleanly. Michael Brantley scored Davis with a sacrifice fly.

Jose Ramirez kept the inning going with a double that sent Lindor to third. Edwin Encarnacion delivered him with the second sacrifice fly of the inning to make it a 2-2 game.

As for the home run, Francona said if that's all a team does it better hit a lot of them. Well, that's not all the Indians do, but they can go homer for homer with just about any team in the big leagues and Lindor is one of the reasons why.

He hit a grand slam in the fourth to put the Indians head to stay, 6-2. It was his 22nd homer of the season and the Tribe's seventh slam.

In the sixth he continued to haunt Junis with a three-run homer. They both cleared the fence in right field, the first one at 409 feet, the second at 418.

Lindor is the first Indians player to drive in seven runs in a game since Brandon Moss did it against the Tigers on April 24, 2015. The only other Indians shortstop with seven RBI in a game Chico Carrasquel. Like Lindor, Carrasquel it in Kansas City, but he did it against the Kansas City Athletics, who would become the Oakland Athletics, on April 26, 1956.

The game did not start well for Kluber (12-4, 2.64). For the second time in as many starts he allowed a leadoff homer. Against St. Louis on June 26, it was Matt Carpenter. Monday night it was White Merrifield.

When Mike Moustakas followed with a one-out single and scored on Salvador Perez's doubled after an 11-pitch at-bat, it looked like Kluber was in for another short night after going just 1 2/3 innings against the Cardinals.

Kluber, however, escaped the first with no further damage even though he threw 24 pitches. Then he found cruise control, retiring the Royals in order on 13 pitches in the second and third innings.

The only other trouble spot came in the sixth when the Royals scored their final run on four singles. But by that time the Indians were leading 9-3.

Kluber allowed three runs on six hits. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter. Junis allowed nine runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.

What it means

The Indians improved to 26-13 in the Central and 5-2 against the Royals this season.

The pitches

Junis threw 94 pitches, 60 (64 percent) for strikes. Kluber threw 99 pitches, 63 (64 percent) for strikes.

Thanks for coming

The Indians and Royals drew 18,825 to Kauffman Stadium on Monday night. First pitch was at 8:15 p.m. with a temperature of 88 degrees.

Up next

Rookie right-hander Shane Bieber (3-0, 2.22) will face the Royals and lefty Danny Duffy (4-7, 4.94) on Tuesday at 8:15 p.m. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR/FM 95.3 will carry the game.

This will be Bieber's fifth career start. In his first four, he's struck out 27 batters, the third most in franchise history in a pitcher's first four outings. This will be his first appearance against the Royals.

Duffy is coming off a strong start against Milwaukee. He is 2-8 in his career against the Tribe.

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