Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Leadoff walks lead to Tribe’s demise in Royals victory


Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, left, hands the ball to manager Terry Francona, right, after giving up a grand slam during the sixth inning.

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KANSAS CITY — Terry Francona felt a bit powerless standing in the Cleveland dugout on Thursday.

No matter what Indians pitcher was standing on the mound, whether it was starter Ubaldo Jimenez or a parade of relievers, the Kansas City Royals kept drawing walks to start some critical innings.

All those free passes wound up hurting, too.

Lorenzo Cain hit his first career grand slam after two walks and an error in the sixth. Eric Hosmer hit a two-run shot after another walk in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Salvador Perez had the biggest blow, a bases-loaded double in the eighth that boosted the Royals a 10-7 victory.

Of course, the bases were loaded thanks to another leadoff walk.

"We fight back, get a lead, but we ended up walking five or six and hitting a batter and they all scored," Francona said. "In the sixth, seventh, and eighth, we walked the leadoff hitter every eeeeeeinning. We just put ourselves in a tough position."

The Indians led 5-0 early before Cain's first career slam and a solo shot by George Kottaras tied it in the sixth.

The Indians regained the lead on Carlos Santana's two-run double in the seventh, but the Royals answered in the bottom half on Hosmer's home run.

Indians reliever Bryan Shaw (0-2) walked Kottaras to lead off the eighth and then hit Johnny Giavotella. Shaw was lifted for Rich Hill, who promptly walked Jarrod Dyson to load the bases.

Perez entered the game as a pinch-hitter and roped a double down the left-field line, slapping his hands together on the way to first as the Royals cleared the bags for a 10-7 lead.

"We didn't do our job," said Indians reliever Joe Smith, who served up Hosmer's homer.

Luke Hochevar (2-1) worked a scoreless eighth inning for the Royals, and Greg Holland worked around a single in the ninth for his second straight save and his 19th on the season.

The Royals scored at least 10 runs for only the fourth time this year — despite only six hits — by taking advantage of eight walks and that costly hit batter by the Indians.

"We feel like we're over the hump offensively," Royals manager Ned Yost said, "and any time you can score 10 runs on six hits, you're slugging."

Drew Stubbs homered and drove in four runs, and Michael Brantley had four hits and also drove in a run for Cleveland, which had won five straight and pulled into first place in the wide open AL Central before losing its last two games to the Royals in wild fashion.

Late Wednesday

ROYALS 6, INDIANS 5: Eric Hosmer hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning, and the Kansas City Royals rallied after losing outfielder Alex Gordon to a head injury.

Hosmer connected with two outs off Indians reliever Cody Allen (3-1), one inning after Gordon collided with the bullpen fence while tracking a fly ball. The Gold Glove outfielder remained down on the warning track for several minutes before slowly standing up and walking off the field.

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