Michael Brantley made an immediate impact in his return from offseason ankle surgery with a pair of RBIs to lift the Cleveland Indians to a 3-2 win in their home opener against the Kansas City Royals on Friday afternoon.
Brantley, who missed the Indians’ first six games after undergoing surgery to stabilize ligaments in his right ankle last October, went 1-for-4 with a strikeout. Jose Ramirez also drove in a run as Cleveland snapped its two-game skid.
Mike Moustakas and Lucas Duda each drove in a run for Kansas City, which has opened the season with four losses in five games amid two postponements. The Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 1-0 for their first win Tuesday.
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (2-0) allowed two runs on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts over six innings. Cody Allen pitched the ninth for his second save.
Royals starter Danny Duffy (0-2) was tagged for three runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
A high-scoring first inning produced the entirety of the game’s offense.
Jon Jay opened the game with a leadoff single and moved to third on Whit Merrifield’s double. Moustakas plated Jay for the Royals’ first run with a groundout the next at-bat and Duda followed with an RBI single.
Cleveland answered quickly with all three of its runs in the first. Duffy walked Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis before Ramirez’s RBI single made it a one-run game. After a walk to Edwin Encarnacion loaded the bases, Brantley ripped a two-run single to right.
Carrasco tightroped out of danger after intentionally walking Moustakas to load the bases with one out in the Royals’ sixth, striking out Duda and coaxing an inning-ending lineout to left from Cheslor Cuthbert.
Indians reliever Andrew Miller walked Jay to lead off the Kansas City eighth and gave up a single to Merrifield the next at-bat. But the two-time All-Star buckled down and struck out Moustakas, Duda and Cuthbert to squash the threat.
Kansas City right-hander Ian Kennedy (0-0, 1.50 ERA) opposes Cleveland right-hander Trevor Bauer (0-0, 3.60 ERA) as the series continues Saturday.
— Field Level Media