Bruce homers twice, Indians rout Royals
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The good news for the Cleveland Indians was not Jay Bruce’s huge offensive night but that Corey Kluber’s ankle injury is not thought to be serious.
Bruce homered twice and drove in five runs as the Indians battered the Kansas City Royals 10-1 on Friday.
Kluber sprained his right ankle and pulled up lame while running to cover first base on Eric Hosmer’s sixth-inning single.
That prompted a visit from manager Terry Francona and the trainer. Kluber stayed in the game for one more batter, a Melky Cabrera single, before being led off the field by the trainer.
“It’s a low ankle sprain and on the mild side,” Francona said. “It’s not the dreaded high ankle sprain that you hear with NFL guys.”
Francona said if Kluber can throw a side session next week with no repercussions he might not miss a start. If he has any issues, Francona said he would be pushed back a start.
Bruce knows how important Kluber is to the Indians, who are trying to get back to the World Series for the second straight year.
“I’ve been on the other side of that too many times,” Bruce said. “He anchors this thing for us. We feel pretty damn good when he’s on the mound.”
Bruce hit a two-run homer in a three-run first inning off Ian Kennedy and a three-run blast in the seventh off rookie Jake Junis. It was Bruce’s 25th multi-homer game and his eighth game of at least five RBIs.
Since being acquired in an Aug. 9 trade with the New York Mets, Bruce is hitting .406 with four doubles, three home runs, nine runs scored and 11 RBIs in nine games.
“I just feel like I added to an already good lineup,” Bruce said.
Jason Kipnis and Edwin Encarnacion also homered for the Indians.
Kluber (12-3) is 9-1 since coming off the disabled list on June 1. He threw 74 pitches in 5 1/3 innings, giving up one run and six hits while striking out four and walking one.
Andrew Miller replaced Kluber and struck out Mike Moustakas, walked Brandon Moss to load the bases and retired Alcides Escobar on a shallow fly to right. Miller came off the disabled list earlier in the day.
The Indians widened their American League Central gap to 6 1/2 games over the Royals. Cleveland has won seven of eight, and Kansas City lost for the 12th time in 18 games and fell to third place behind Minnesota in the division.
Kennedy was as bad as Kluber was good before the ankle injury.
Kennedy (4-9) was removed after 2 2/3 innings, his shortest outing since May 21, and took the loss. He has not recorded a Kauffman Stadium victory in nearly a year. He is 0-3 in his past four starts.
“We take pride on those days when it’s not there, but most of the times you have one pitch going,” Kennedy said. “On the A-stuff days, you expect to win. On B-stuff days, you have a better chance of winning. C-stuff where you have to grind. Today was like a D or F game, where you don’t have anything.
“A lot of us are going through that tired stage. I’ve got to make the adjustments where I don’t have that. I felt great against Chicago. This time it was a completely different story. You don’t feel good, but it doesn’t matter. You still go out there and you compete. You try to get outs and you put your team in a hole, 3-0 in the first inning, so it’s disappointing.”
After one out, Kipnis homered on a 1-1 Kennedy pitch, taking it out to right. Austin Jackson singled and with two out, Bruce went deep to right.
The Royals got a run back in the second when Moss took an 0-2 Kluber pitch over the fence in straightaway center.
The Tribe, however, made it 5-1 in the third and chased Kennedy. Kipnis walked, Bruce singled and Carlos Santana walked to load the bases. Yan Gomes, who homered and drove in four runs Thursday, singled to center to score Kipnis and Bruce.
That finished Kennedy’s night. He faced 16 batters and five scored. He surrendered six hits and walked two.
Kennedy remains winless in 15 consecutive home starts, which ties a Royals record. Mac Suzuki (1999-2000) and Glendon Rusch (1997-98) registered the same dubious fete. Kennedy’s last home victory was Aug. 20, 2016.
“These type of games are where you look at it and you say, ‘OK, my starting pitcher just didn’t have his good stuff, and they blow us out,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We got beat tonight. They were better than us tonight.”
NOTES: The Indians activated LHP Andrew Miller from the disabled list. He had been out with right knee tendinitis. OF Abraham Almonte went on the DL with a strained left hamstring. ... The Royals placed RHP Jorge Soria on the 10-day DL with a Grade One left oblique strain. They recalled RHP Kevin McCarthy from Triple-A Omaha. Manager Ned Yost said RHP Brandon Maurer would be first in line to take over Soria’s eighth-inning setup role. ... Royals C Salvador Perez took two rounds of batting practice on the field. He is on the disabled list with a right intercostal strain. ... Indians 3B Jose Ramirez was held out of the lineup after being struck by a pitch in his right forearm Thursday. X-rays were negative. ... Indians RHP Trevor Bauer and Royals LHP Jason Vargas are the Saturday probables.