Jose Ramirez’s three-run home run in the sixth inning blew open a close game, and the visiting Cleveland Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals 8-3 Friday night.
Ramirez sent a Jakob Junis slider 428 feet, beyond the Kansas City bullpen in right. He also homered leading off the top of the 14th inning Thursday night to spark the Indians to a 5-4 victory in the series opener.
Cleveland’s regular third baseman, who served as the designated hitter Friday, has seven home runs and 21 RBIs in July. The Indians are now 30-3 when Ramirez drives in a run.
Tyler Naquin, returning to the lineup after missing three consecutive games due to right hamstring tightness, had three hits, two runs and an RBI.
Zach Plesac (5-3) pitched seven strong innings, allowing one unearned run on six hits. Plesac also made a stellar defensive play in the sixth inning, catching a foul popup with a headlong dive near the Kansas City dugout.
Junis (6-9) was making his return after coming off the paternity list prior to the game. He gave up six runs on 10 hits in six-plus innings. He walked two and struck out five.
The Indians got to Junis in the third inning after failing to come through in the first two innings. Naquin’s one-out single preceded Francisco Lindor’s RBI triple. Lindor then scored on Mike Freeman’s two-out single.
The Royals got an unearned run in the fifth. Whit Merrifield reached on a throwing error by Freeman at third base, then advanced to third on Alex Gordon’s single. Hunter Dozier drove in Merrifield with a single.
Plesac worked out of that jam before Ramirez’s three-run shot made the score 5-1.
The Indians got another run in the seventh. Junis gave up base hits to Naquin and Lindor (3-for-5) before being removed from the game. After Jorge Lopez walked Oscar Mercado, Freeman drove a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Naquin. The Royals avoided more damage when Bubba Starling threw out Lindor trying to score on a flyout to center.
The Indians tacked on additional runs in the eighth and ninth innings. The Royals added two in the ninth.
Playing in his 11th career game, Starling hit safely in his 10th straight game, going 2-for-4.
—Field Level Media