Royals' rally falls short in 9-6 loss to Indians
Monday, September 5, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Royals starter Jeff Francis wasn't around to watch the Indians' Shelley Duncan hit a pair of homers into the stiff breeze at Kauffman Stadium. Some early control problems in his personal house of horrors forced him from the game after just five innings.
Duncan belted a three-run shot in the sixth and added a two-run homer in the eighth for a career best five RBIs, and Cleveland held on for a 9-6 victory over Kansas City on Sunday.
"When you only go five innings, you don't give the team much of a chance," said Francis, who allowed four runs while falling to 0-5 in his last seven home starts. "It was disappointing."
Jason Donald and Jerad Head also had RBIs for the Indians (70-67), who surpassed their win total from all of last season as they try to keep pace with Detroit in the AL Central.
They began the day 6½ games back in second place. The Tigers played Sunday night before facing the Indians in a crucial three-game series that starts Monday in Cleveland.
Jeanmar Gomez (2-2) was effective again in his second start since getting recalled from Triple-A Columbus, allowing six hits and only Mike Moustaksas' RBI groundout in 5 1-3 innings.
The Indians' bullpen wasn't nearly as effective.
Eric Hosmer drove in a pair of runs in the ninth inning, and Johnny Giavotella had one of his two RBIs in the ninth as Kansas City tried to rally. Chris Perez came in with one out and a runner on first and got Moustakas and Brayan Pena on weak pop outs for his 32nd save.
"He just kept feeding me fastballs and got in on me that last one and popped me up," Moustakas said. "We battled as a team today and just came up short."
Melky Cabrera also drove in a run for Kansas City, but it wasn't enough to help Francis (5-15) finally end his home woes. He hasn't won at Kauffman Stadium since May 31.
"It was just a grind for him all day," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He wasn't really sharp. But with his competitiveness, he was able to make a pitch and kind of limit the damage."
Francis got in trouble quickly when Kosuke Fukudome doubled with one out in the first. Carlos Santana and Duncan walked to load the bases for Donald, whose single made it 1-0.
Santana was thrown out trying to score on the play by Mitch Maier, the 24th time a Royals outfielder has thrown someone out at home. Only the 1978 Montreal Expos have more outfield assists at the plate (30) in a single season since 1974, when accurate records started being tracked.
Cleveland piled on in the second inning when Jack Hannahan doubled, Lou Marson singled and Head hit an RBI single. After a couple quick outs, including a great stab by Hosmer on a hard-hit ball by Fukudome, Cabrera ripped a two-run double down the left-field line.
Cabrera fouled a pitch off his knee Friday night, causing a colorful bruise that kept him out of the lineup Saturday night. He returned to push his team-leading RBI total to 82, a career best.
The Royals finally scored in the fourth when Hosmer lined a double into the wind, which was whipping up to 27 mph. He came home when Moustakas hit a grounder to third base.
The Indians got some breathing room in the sixth when Ezequiel Carrera and Santana reached base and Duncan pounded a 1-0 pitch from Jesse Chavez into the Royals' bullpen for a 7-1 lead. The two-out homer to left field was Duncan's fifth of the season and first since Aug. 5.
Hosmer and Giavotella drove in runs in the seventh for Kansas City, and Moustakas nearly tied the game with a bases-loaded drive that just skirted the foul pole. He eventually flied out to right, and Duncan's second homer of the game in the eighth restored Cleveland's six-run cushion.
"At the end, we needed every bit of offense," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "Today Shelley Duncan stepped up, and we need just about every guy to step up with the roster we have right now. We need heroes every day."
NOTES: Santana turned his right ankle on second base after his double in the fourth. He hopped around and spiked his helmet in frustration, but remained in the game. ... Hannahan left the game in the third with a calf injury. He'll be examined Monday. ... Cleveland stole two bases, one after Francis caught Donald between first and second base but Giavotella whiffed on the tag. ... Kansas City heads out on a seven-game trip starting Monday at Oakland. Felipe Paulino (2-6) gets the ball in the series opener. ... Ubaldo Jimenez (2-1) starts for Cleveland against Detroit on Monday.
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