Indians record second straight 4-0 shutout of Royals
CLEVELAND -- Meet the new score. Same as the old score.
Roberto Perez, Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana hit home runs, and Cleveland Indians pitchers tossed their second consecutive 4-0 shutout over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night at Progressive Field.
The Royals have not scored a run over their last 25 innings and are 1 1/2 games behind the Minnesota Twins for the American League’s second wild card.
“Our offense, we’re just having trouble scoring runs,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said.
The Indians are 8-6 versus Kansas City this year, and five of those eight victories have been shutouts. That’s the most shutouts by the Indians against one opponent in a single season in 49 years.
It’s also Cleveland’s major league-leading 14th shutout of the season
Indians starter Mike Clevinger (7-5) pitched six scoreless innings, allowing four hits with a career-high nine strikeouts. Relievers Bryan Shaw, Dan Otero and Cody Allen worked a hitless inning apiece.
Kansas City’s Jason Hammel (6-10) pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
Hammel retired the first 16 batters he faced, and the game was scoreless going into the bottom of the sixth inning.
“He was phenomenal for the first five innings,” said Yost. “His stuff was dead spot on.”
With one out in the sixth, Bradley Zimmer broke up the perfect game bid with a single.
Perez followed by hitting a line drive home run on an 0-1 pitch over the left-field wall for his third homer, giving Cleveland a 2-0 lead.
Encarnacion led off the seventh inning with a towering blast into the left-field bleachers for his 30th homer, pushing the lead to 3-0. After Jay Bruce grounded out, Santana slammed his 19th home run over the right-field wall to make it 4-0.
“We weren’t doing anything. He (Hammel) was going right through us,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Then, fortunately, he got a couple balls up and we didn’t miss them.”
Kansas City’s best chance to score came in the fourth inning.
With one out, Melky Cabrera singled and went to third on a single by Eric Hosmer. Clevinger struck out Salvador Perez for the second out, but Mike Moustakas drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases.
Alcides Escobar hit a popup to shallow center field. Second baseman Jose Ramirez raced into the outfield and made an over-the-shoulder catch for the third out.
“Clev was walking a fine line, but with our defense and his ability to make pitches he was able to put up zeros,” Francona said.
In the fifth inning, with a runner at first and two outs, Lorenzo Cain hit a fly ball to deep left-center field. Center fielder Zimmer, after a long sprint into the gap, went airborne and made a spectacular diving catch for the third out of the inning.
“I thought it was a 1-0 game off the bat. The ground he covers out there is unreal,” Clevinger said.
“It’s always fun making plays like that, selling out to save some runs,” said Zimmer. “I gave it everything I had. It’s definitely one I’ll remember.”
So will the Royals.
“Cain smoked that ball. I didn’t think Zimmer had much of a chance,” Yost said. “If he was six inches shorter he doesn’t catch it. That’s one of the best ones you’ll ever see.”
NOTES: Royals LHP Danny Duffy has been scratched from his scheduled start Sunday and placed on the 10-day disabled with a left elbow impingement. To replace Duffy on the roster, the Royals selected RHP Onelki Garcia from Triple-A Omaha. ... With Duffy on the DL, LHP Eric Skoglund (1-1, 5.59 ERA) will start Sunday’s game for the Royals. It will be Skoglund’s fourth major league start, his first since June 9. ... The Indians selected the contract of LHP Craig Breslow from Triple-A Columbus, and optioned LHP Ryan Merritt to Columbus. Breslow, 37, was designated for assignment by Minnesota on July 24. The Indians also designated for assignment RHP Diego Moreno. ... Indians RHP Josh Tomlin will be activated off the disabled list and will start Wednesday in New York, against the Yankees. Tomlin has been on the DL since July 31 with a left hamstring strain.