EditorsNote: Adds name of stadium; clarifies 12 consecutive games in final graph; other minor edits
Jason Kipnis’ grand slam with nobody out in the first inning gave the Cleveland Indians a lead they would not relinquish in a 9-1 victory over the host Kansas City Royals on Saturday night. The Indians hit three home runs off Kansas City starter Glenn Sparkman.
The crowd of 31,181 was the second-largest crowd of the season Kauffman Stadium after only the home opener.
Jose Ramirez hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning, the third straight game he has homered. He hit home runs in three straight games three times in 2018.
Mike Clevinger (5-2) gave up just one run over seven innings. He allowed eight hits and struck out seven. Clevinger improved to 8-0 in his career against the Royals, the most victories for any pitcher without a loss against the Royals.
With Minnesota’s loss to the White Sox in Chicago, Cleveland has now made up 10 games on the first-place Twins since June 15. They now trail the Twins by just one game in the AL Central.
Sparkman (3-7) never had it Saturday. He gave up eight runs on nine hits in just five innings. All eight runs came via the home run.
Francisco Lindor and Oscar Mercado led off the first with singles before Sparkman hit Mike Freeman with a pitch. When Kipnis sent Sparkman’s 2-1 pitch into the fountains in right field, he had the third grand slam of his career. It was the first grand slam of the season for Cleveland.
Lindor hit a one-out home run in the second, his 18th of the season.
The Royals finally got on the board in the fifth when Whit Merrifield drove in Cheslor Cuthbert with an RBI single. However, Bubba Starling was thrown out at the plate on Merrifield’s hit for the final out when he chose not to slide.
Cleveland scored once against the KC bullpen. Mercado drilled an RBI double — his fourth hit of the night — to the wall in left-center in the sixth.
Starling extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He also matched Johnny Damon’s club record for reaching base safely in the most consecutive games (12) to start a career.
—Field Level Media