Brantley's hit in eighth lifts Indians over Royals
By Jeffrey Flanagan and Jordan Wilson
KANSAS CITY -- Michael Brantley singled to center to drive in Jason Kipnis with two out in the eighth inning and the Indians won their third straight and fifth in six games with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night over the suddenly reeling Royals.
By dropping the opener of a three-game set, the Royals have lost six of seven.
Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie bounced back from his dreadful start (11 runs, one-plus innings) at the Yankees and was solid in a no-decision. He allowed just three baserunners in 5 2/3 innings and left with the score tied 1-1.
The only run Guthrie allowed was a homer to Brandon Moss in the fourth on an 11-pitch at-bat.
"He was tremendous," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He really threw the ball inside great and mixed his breaking stuff in perfectly. I thought he had Moss struck out on the checked swing, so he went from a four-pitch at-bat to an 11-pitch at-bat."
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco was even better, going seven innings and allowing just five hits and one run while striking out eight.
"Because he only had two walks, he was able to pitch that deep into the game," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "There were a couple innings where he had some traffic on the bases, but he pounded the zone with his fastball, and it set up his changeup.
"Boy, I'll tell you, man. You get that far and give up one, we'll take it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Hoz delivers: The Royals took the lead 1-0 in the third when Mike Moustakas punched a broken-bat single to right field and then moved to second on a wild pitch. After a groundout, Eric Hosmer smashed a single up the middle to plate Moustakas.
More Moss: Trailing, 1-0, in the fourth inning, the Indians answered when Moss crushed the 11th pitch of his second at-bat for a homer, projected by Statcast™ to land 392 feet away from home plate. It was Moss's second home run against the Royals this season -- his last coming in the ninth inning of a 10-3 win on May 6.
"Even when he's not [in rhythm], he always has that home run there. If he swings, he's gonna swing hard," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "The ball was not carrying to right tonight, so to hit it out, he had to really give it a bolt."
Davis' first run allowed: Royals reliever Wade Davis had not allowed a run in 22 innings until Tuesday. And that run was a bit controversial. With a runner on first and none out, the Royals thought they might have a double-play grounder from Jose Ramirez, but Ramirez was ruled safe at first. Manager Ned Yost challenged, but the call was ruled to stand. Then, Kipnis hit a double-play grounder again to second baseman Omar Infante, who bobbled it, and the Royals only got the force at second. After a walk, Brantley poked a single to center for the decisive RBI. More >
The Royals were convinced that Ramirez was out.
"To me, he was out 100 percent," Hosmer, the first baseman, said.
"You look at the replay from the one they showed on the board and it looked like, obviously, he was out," Yost said.
Carrasco's gem: A struggling Indians bullpen welcomed the seven solid innings by Carrasco. He picked up his seventh win of the season and third in as many starts.
"I just work a lot between innings and try to go from there, and trying to do my job," Carrasco said. "I need to continue to do that." More >
PEREZ IS OK
Royals catcher Salvador Perez was removed from the game in the eighth inning after getting hit in the face mask with a foul tip the previous inning. But after the game, Perez said he was feeling much better and that he passed a concussion test.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Ace Corey Kluber (3-5, 3.52 ERA) will start on Wednesday at 8:10 p.m. ET and is looking to continue his recent hot streak -- recording 50 strikeouts and just two walks in his last four games. The righty has won three straight and hasn't lost since allowing five runs in 5 2/3 innings to the Royals on May 7. He is 1-2 with a 5.05 ERA in seven career starts at Kauffman Stadium.
Royals: Left-hander Jason Vargas (3-2, 5.16 ERA) gets the ball on Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. CT for his second start back from a left flexor strain. He needed a season-high 102 pitches to get through just five innings and gave up two runs off three hits in his last matchup against Cleveland on April 27. He is 5-3 with a 4.86 ERA in 11 career games against the Indians.
Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Jordan Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.