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Indians survive 14-inning win over Royals to keep pace

By JOE NOGA • Updated Jul 26, 2019 at 1:55 AM

 KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jose Ramirez belted a solo home run and Jake Bauers added an RBI single in the 14th inning as the Cleveland Indians outlasted Kansas City for a 5-4 win in a game that began Thursday, but lasted into the early morning hours Friday at Kauffman Stadium.

Royals reliever Brian Flynn (2-2, 5.22) served up the solo blast to Ramirez — his 11th of the season — before Jason Kipnis singled to center and moved to second on a bunt by Roberto Perez. Bauers then brought Kipnis home with a line drive to right for a two-run Tribe advantage.

Tribe reliever A.J. Cole needed that extra run in the worst way. He loaded the bases with none out and gave up a run on a sacrifice fly by Jorge Soler, but got Cheslor Cuthbert to fly out to left and struck out Bubba Starling with the tying run on second for his second career save, his first since a no-pressure three-inning stint in a 10-0 Washington win in 2015.

Cole and six Indians relievers worked 8 2/3 strong innings in support of starter Adam Plutko. Nick Goody (2-0, 3.68) retired six of seven batters he faced in the 12th and 13th innings before giving way to Cole in the 14th.

Cleveland (60-42) improved to 8-5 against Kansas City, including four straight road wins. The Indians kept pace with Minnesota in the AL Central chase at two games back after the Twins topped Chicago. They continue to hold the first AL wild card position by three games.

The 14-inning marathon took 4:51 to play and marked the longest game in terms of time and innings for both teams this season. Cleveland improved to 3-5 in extra-inning games while Kansas City slipped to 3-7. The Indians stranded 17 baserunners, while the Royals left 14 on base.

Back-to-back walks from Royals reliever Jorge Lopez to Santana and Jordan Luplow set the stage for a two-run Indians rally in the sixth. Ramirez hustled down the line on a fielder’s choice grounder to avoid a double play, and Kipnis lined a Kevin McCarthy pitch to right for an RBI single that tied the score at 2-2.

Kipnis entered the game having hit safely in 12 out of his last 14 games with three extra-base hits and five RBI in that span.

An error by second baseman Whit Merrifield on a Bauers grounder allowed Ramirez to score from third for a 3-2 advantage. But Kansas City tied it in the bottom of the inning on a bases-loaded HBP when Adam Cimber replaced a wild Oliver Perez and immediately nicked Merrifield with his first delivery.

Plutko, making his third start of the season against Kansas City, allowed three runs and walked two in 5 1/3 innings, scattering seven Royals hits and escaping a jam in the third behind a ground-ball double play turned by Kipnis and Francisco Lindor.

Lindor wasted little time getting Cleveland on the scoreboard in the first. He launched Mike Montgomery’s first pitch 402 feet into the left field seats for his fifth leadoff home run this year. Lindor ranks third in Indians history with 17 career leadoff blasts, trailing Grady Sizemore (22) and Kenny Lofton (18).

But the Royals answered in the bottom of the inning when Alex Gordon singled with one out and Hunter Dozier smashed a Plutko fastball into the left field camera bay. It was Dozier’s fifth career home run against the Indians and third this season.

Montgomery worked around four more Indians hits after the Lindor homer. He helped himself in the fourth by picking Ramirez off at second base after Ramirez led off the inning with a double to left.

 

Up next

At 8:15 p.m. tonight, it will be RHP Zach Plesac (4-3, 3.50) vs. RHP Jakob Junis (6-8, 4.83). Plesac is coming off beating the Royals in his last start on July 21. He threw six innings and allowed two runs on four hits with six strikeouts. He will look to beat the Royals for the second time in three starts this season.

Junis stifled Tribe hitters on July 20, scattering two hits in six shutout innings to earn the win in a 1-0 thriller. He is 3-4 in nine career starts against the Indians. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR 95.3 FM will carry the game.

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