Norwalk Reflector: Clevinger, Diaz spark easy Tribe win over Royals

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Clevinger, Diaz spark easy Tribe win over Royals

By PAUL HOYNES • Updated Sep 4, 2018 at 11:49 PM

CLEVELAND — Francisco Lindor said the Indians' feet have been dragging as they hit the home stretch of the regular season. He included his feet among those that have lacked a little pep in their step.

He made that statement Monday after the Indians lost their third straight game, 5-1 to the Royals.

Well, if he intended to put a charge into his teammates on Tuesday night, he did it the right way by starting the game with his 31st homer as the Indians went on to beat the Royals, 9-3, at Progressive Field. The victory reduced the Tribe's magic number to 11 and ended Kansas City's six-game winning streak.

Danny Duffy (8-12, 4.88) left with two out in the first inning with tightness in his left shoulder after the Indians reached him for three runs on three hits. Duffy has never had much luck against the Indians and the trend continued. He's 0-4 against them this year and 2-10 in his career.

Mike Clevinger (11-7, 3.11) allowed one run on three hits in six innings. He tied a career-high with 11 strikeouts. It was the fifth double-digit strikeout game in his career, all of them coming this season. Clevinger is one win shy of matching his career best 12 wins from last year.

The game was a coming out party for Yandy Diaz, who is built like The Hulk, but until Tuesday night had not hit a big-league homer. That streak came to an end as Diaz drove a ball over the wall in center field in the fifth. He just missed his second homer as he doubled high off the right field wall in the seventh. On the night, Diaz finished a double shy of the cycle.

Following Lindor's sixth leadoff homer of the season, the Indians made it 3-0 in the first as Melky Cabrera and Jason Kipnis delivered runs. The Indians sent eight men to the plate in the first.

They made it 6-0 in the second as Jose Ramirez doubled home Lindor, who was hit by a pitch from Burch Smith with one out in the inning. Smith went up and in against Lindor and hit him on the forearm as the Tribe's shortstop spun out of the way.

Diaz followed with a walk and Jose Ramirez doubled home Lindor with a drive off the wall in right center. Right fielder Brett Phillips hit the wall hard in pursuit of the ball. He finished the inning, but left shortly after that with a bruised right shoulder.

It did not appear the Indians took kindly to Lindor getting hit. Oliver Perez hit KC's Brian Goodwin in the seventh. Rajai Davis was hit by Brandon Mauer in the seventh and Brad Hand hit Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi in the eighth to draw what appeared to be a warning from crew chief Joe West.

What it means

In the race to host the ALDS on Oct. 5, the Indians trailed AL West leading Houston by 7 1/2 games entering Tuesday night's game against the Royals. Houston was playing the Twins.

The Astros have won three straight and seven of their last 10 games. They are 20-7 against the AL Central this year, taking four out of seven games from the Indians.

The pitches

Duffy threw 26 pitches, 14 (54 percent) for strikes. Clevinger threw 96 pitches, 68 (71 percent) for strikes.

Thanks for coming

The Royals and Indians drew a crowd of 17,041 to Progressive Field night. First pitch was at 7:10 with a temperature of 85 degrees.

Up next

Right-hander Corey Kluber (17-7, 2.80) will face the Royals and rookie right-hander Brad Keller (7-5, 3.26) on Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR will carry the game.

The Royals beat Kluber, 7-1, on Aug. 25 at Kauffman Stadium. This will be his fourth start against them this year. He's 2-1 with a 3.93 ERA. Keller faced the Indians on Aug. 24, allowing two runs on six hits in five innings in a no-decision. He struck out five and walked one.

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