For four and a half innings, the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals were locked in a pitcher’s duel. Suddenly, in one fell swoop, the Indians took control in the fifth inning, holding on for a 5-1 victory.
Cleveland squandered an opportunity right off the bat in the first inning. Asdrubal Cabrera singled, moved to second on a passed ball and, with one out, took third on an errant pickoff by Bruce Chen. However, Chen managed to get out of the inning thanks to some help from his defense. Jason Kipnis grounded to first, where Eric Hosmer was able to tag the base and get the throw home in time for Brett Hayes to tag Cabrera out at home.
After that point, Chen settled in. Meanwhile, Indians starter Corey Kluber was breezing through the Royals lineup, stifling the Royals lineup on three this through five innings. Kansas City’s best chance came in that ill fated fifth inning, when Alcides Escobar singled with two outs. Jarrod Dyson followed with a base hit, but Escobar was thrown out at third to end the inning.
In the bottom half of the frame, the floodgates opened for the Indians offense. Chen suddenly appeared to be throwing batting practice, as the Indians began to tee off on him, scoring five times in the inning. David Murphy had a two run single and Cabrera knocked Chen out of the game with a two run double to left. Michael Mariot came in and pitched well, but by then, it was too late.
The Royals finally got on the board in seventh. Omar Infante singled with two outs, bringing up Mike Moustakas. Moustakas hit a grounder that should have easily been the third out of the inning, but neither Nick Swisher nor Kipnis appeared to have much interest in fielding the ball. Infante scored from first, as the Royals were given a gift run.
That was all that Kluber would allow. He finished by setting down the last seven Royals he faced, four by strikeouts, as the Indians cruised to a 5-1 victory. Chen took the loss, giving up five runs on six hits and a walk in 4.1 innings of work. While it is the early going, one has to wonder how much longer Chen will remain in the rotation. Aside from his first start, Chen just has not been effective whatsoever.
Dyson had two of the Royals four hits on the day, and stole a base, in the loss.