Five-run third propels Royals in opener

Five-run third propels Royals in opener

Five-run third propels Royals in opener
KANSAS CITY -- It's been a rarity to see a five-run game from the Royals in recent weeks, let alone a five-run inning.

But that's exactly what the team got in the bottom of the third on Tuesday night, the key inning in an 8-3 defeat of the Indians at Kauffman Stadium. The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the team and helped start the homestand off on a positive note following a rough 1-6 West Coast road trip.

"I think everyone kind of could breathe a little bit," second baseman Chris Getz said. "Just to put an inning like that together, feel like we were kind of more in the driver's seat. We haven't been in the driver's seat in a while. It was a good feeling."

The big inning came with the score tied, 3-3, and Indians starter Derek Lowe had already shown signs of vulnerability. Two of the first three batters singled in the inning, and Eric Hosmer followed with a one-out walk to load the bases. As Getz awaited the first pitch of his at-bat, Lowe fell off the mound without delivering the ball. It was called a balk, and Billy Butler trotted home from third base to give the Royals a 4-3 lead.

Three pitches later, Getz doubled into right-center field, scoring the other two baserunners and chasing Lowe from the game.

Josh Tomlin -- Thursday's previously scheduled Cleveland starter -- entered in relief. After a Jarrod Dyson flyout, Alex Gordon doubled on a line drive over a jumping Casey Kotchman at first base, scoring Getz. Alcides Escobar then tripled into the right-field corner to plate Gordon, and the Royals had a big 8-3 advantage.

"You want to play for the big inning," Getz said. "We were able to do so, put up some runs and then that kind of quieted them down. We were able to hold onto the win."

The offensive totals in the inning gave starting pitcher Luke Hochevar the room he needed to pitch a good game.

"That's key. We haven't been able to put together successions of hits like that where we can tack on some runs and get a big inning and get a big lead, which also helps Hochevar to take a little bit of a breather, understanding that he has some room to make some mistakes, some wiggle room if you will," said manager Ned Yost. "It was a big inning for us."

Hochevar had his own shaky start, allowing three runs in the second and third innings. Two Cleveland tallies came on Hochevar mistakes. Michael Brantley scored the Indians' first run in the second when Hochevar failed to properly cover first base on a bouncer to Hosmer. Asdrubal Cabrera came down from third base the following inning on a Hochevar wild pitch to tie the game, 3-3.

But after the five-run third by his offense, Hochevar settled down nicely. He allowed just one hit over his final three innings, going six and picking up his seventh win of the season.

"Anytime you throw up eight runs is always nice," Hochevar said. "We still kept playing hard, though, which is good to see. We kept playing good defense and kept going out there and battling at the plate. That was a fun win."

It was a far cry from the last time he faced the Indians at Kauffman Stadium: the home opener on April 13, when he gave up seven runs in four innings.

Lowe, on the other hand, had that type of disastrous outing. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings, surrendering seven runs on eight hits and two walks. With the loss, Lowe is now 2-9 with an 8.28 ERA in his last 13 starts. It was perhaps the perfect opponent for a team trying to bust out of a five-game funk.

The Royals scored their first three runs off Lowe in the first and second innings on a single from Lorenzo Cain and a two-run single by Escobar.

And the gaudy line scores weren't limited to two or three hitters. The Royals got production throughout the lineup. Gordon was 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and two doubles. Escobar had two hits, a triple and three RBIs. Getz had a pair of RBIs and two hits. Even Dyson, the center fielder known for speed not pop, was a home run away from the cycle.

"Jarrod Dyson had a Jarrod Dyson cycle, I would call it," Yost said. "Single, double, triple and a [fly] ball to the wall. That's as close to a cycle as he's ever going to get."

Dyson let out a loud laugh when he heard the new terminology.

"I guess it's a Dyson cycle because I don't swing for pop," Dyson said. "That's probably as far as you'll see 'em go."

It was a solid night of offensive production for a team that was just swept by the Mariners in Seattle, who entered that series ranked last in scoring at home. And for the Royals, who entered Tuesday's game with a 17-30 home record, there couldn't have been a better way to kick off a homestand.

"It feels good letting us know that we aren't hanging our heads. We're still battling, and that's the thing we've got to do," Dyson said. "Baseball is a grind, and you've got to take the positives and leave the negatives where they're at and just try to bounce back from every loss whenever you can."

Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.