Indians hand Royals 12th consecutive loss, 4-3
CLEVELAND—Coming off one of their best road trips in franchise history, the Cleveland Indians want to establish something at home.
At least for one night, that goal was accomplished.
Derek Lowe allowed one run in six innings and Jack Hannahan had a two-run double as Cleveland sent Kansas City to its 12th straight loss, 4-3 on Tuesday night.
The Indians dropped four of five on their homestand to open the season. The losses included a 16-inning game on Opening Day and a 12-inning defeat the following day. Cleveland went 7-2 on a road trip that began with a three-game sweep in Kansas City.
"We didn't have a very good homestand," manager Manny Acta said. "This is where we're supposed to play well. You can't expect to be a road warrior. Only a few teams can do that. We need to play better baseball here."
The Royals, winless in four games against Cleveland, proved to be the cure again.
Lowe (3-1) gave up eight hits and struck out five. Chris Perez got his seventh save, allowing a ninth-inning run. Cleveland went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base. The Indians loaded the bases with no outs in the second and eighth, but did not score in either inning.
Hannahan had Cleveland's biggest hit in the fifth. After Shelley Duncan's sacrifice fly broke a 1-1 tie, Hannahan's drive up the gap in right-center off Jonathan Sanchez (1-1) gave Cleveland a 4-1 lead.
Hannahan, known more for his defensive play at third base than his offense, is 7 for 12 with runners in scoring position this season.
"He's not thinking about hitting a three-run homer," Acta said. "He's giving himself a chance instead of over-swinging and probably striking out. He gives me a professional at-bat. We want to see him up there."
Lowe gave up eight hits and struck out five. The right-hander used a good sinker to get nine outs on grounders as he bounced back from a 4-1 loss at Seattle in which he walked six without a strikeout on April 18. In addition, the pitcher's home in Florida was recently burglarized. Among items taken were his 2004 World Series ring, earned with the Boston Red Sox. The losses were estimated at $90,000.
"It was obviously a tough week," he said. "Anytime you have something like that happen and not being there, it's tough. That's what law enforcement is there for. Major League Baseball knows about it. The good thing is there's nothing you can't replace. Luckily, no family members were there."
Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo was removed for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning with what Acta called a tight left hamstring. Choo will be re-evaluated on Wednesday and is day-to-day. Center fielder Michael Brantley wasn't in the lineup after jamming his right wrist while sliding during the road trip. He entered the game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement, but did not bat. Acta said Brantley could have started Tuesday and will play Wednesday.
Sanchez hit Indians leadoff batter Jason Kipnis in the hand with his fifth pitch. Kipnis eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Santana to put Cleveland ahead 1-0.
On April 14, Sanchez hit Choo with a pitch. Indians starter Jeanmar Gomez retaliated the next inning by plunking the Royals' Mike Moustakas, leading to a brief bench-clearing scuffle. Gomez drew a five-game suspension and was fined. Hannahan and Acta were also ejected and fined.
Asked if Tuesday's incident was a carryover from what happened in Kansas City, Acta said, "A lot of these guys don't see what we see as coaches. He (Sanchez) was missing a lot around the strike zone. There are times he's going to be erratic. It never crossed anyone's mind. He was just lacking control."
A year ago with San Francisco, Sanchez broke Choo's left thumb with a pitch. The Royals acquired him in a trade for outfielder Melky Cabrera in November.
Sanchez walked seven over 4 2-3 innings, allowing four runs and four hits. He threw 115 pitches, only 56 for strikes.
Mitch Maier had an RBI single for Kansas City in the fourth and doubled home a run in the eighth. Overall, the Royals went 4 for 13 with runners in scoring position. The Royals are 13 for 73 (.178) in that situation over their last eight games.
Kansas City closed to 4-3 in the ninth. Chris Getz doubled and later scored on a groundout by Billy Butler.
The Royals have been outscored 73-44 during the streak, which ties for third-longest in team history. They also lost 12 straight in 1997 and 2008. Kansas City lost 13 straight in 2006 and had a team-record 19 consecutive losses in 2005.
"We were one hit shy," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But golly, we were into it to the very end. We'll break through. It's hard for me to believe we've lost 12 in a row the way we are battling to the very end."
Notes: Indians DH Travis Hafner walked twice. He has reached by hit, walk or hit by pitch in 16 of his last 23 plate appearances. ... Hannahan made a diving backhand stop to rob Jeff Francoeur of a hit in the fourth. ... Yost expects OF Lorenzo Cain (left groin strain) to return Friday. Cain has been on the DL since April 11. ... Cleveland's Aaron Cunningham started in center field, moved to left and played the ninth in right, when Choo was removed. INF Jason Donald went to left field, his first appearance in the outfield in the majors.