Indians shut out Royals for third straight game
CLEVELAND -- When the team that has thrown the most shutouts in the major leagues faces the team that has been shut out more than any team in the majors, this is what can happen.
Yan Gomes capped Cleveland’s nine-run, three-homer second inning with a grand slam as the Indians completed a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals with a 12-0 victory on Sunday at Progressive Field.
The Indians shut out Kansas City in all three games of the series: 4-0, 4-0, and 12-0.
The Indians have won four games in a row. Cleveland pitchers, who lead the majors with 15 shutouts, have pitched 28 consecutive scoreless innings, their longest such streak since a 31-inning scoreless streak in June 2008.
“Three shutouts in a row is unbelievable,” Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes said. “That kind of pitching builds momentum. It’s why nobody wants to face our staff because of the way they attack hitters.”
The Royals, who have lost four in a row, have gone a franchise-record 34 consecutive innings without scoring a run. They have been shut out a major league-high 13 times this season.
“It is what it is. We’re just not producing,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “I don’t think we’re pressing. I don’t sense that. We’re just not getting the job done.”
Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana also homered in Cleveland’s second inning, when the Indians sent 12 men to the plate. By the end of the second inning, every player in Cleveland’s starting lineup had scored at least one run.
The beneficiary of all that offense was starter Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco (13-6), who pitched seven scoreless innings and gave up six hits with eight strikeouts and no walks.
In the three-game series, Cleveland outscored Kansas City 20-0.
“Our guys did a really good job,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “These kinds of days don’t happen very often, but it’s a heck of a lot better not being on the receiving end, because we’ve been there, too.”
Eric Skoglund (1-2), who was starting in place of injured Danny Duffy, took the loss. Skoglund pitched 1 1/3 innings, giving up seven runs and seven hits.
“We caught a break because Duffy is really good,” Francona said. “We got a guy (Skoglund) who was not fully stretched out. We kept at him.”
It didn’t take the Indians long to blow the game open. Lindor led off the bottom of the first with a walk. He went to second on a single by Austin Jackson and scored on a double by Jose Ramirez. A single by Brandon Guyer drove in Ramirez to make it 3-0 after one inning.
Cleveland knocked Skoglund out of the game with a nine-run, seven-hit, three-home run second inning in which Lindor and Gomes were a combined 4-for-4 with two home runs and five RBIs.
The rally began with a leadoff single by Gomes, who then scored on Lindor’s 24th home run, the second most by a shortstop in Indians history. Asdrubal Cabrera hit 25 in 2011.
Jackson doubled to left field and Ramirez popped out for the first out. Edwin Encarnacion drew a walk and Skoglund was replaced by reliever Onelki Garcia.
Santana greeted Garcia with a three-run homer off the left field foul pole to make it 8-0. Guyer reached on an infield single, Yandy Diaz walked and Bradley Zimmer’s infield single loaded the bases.
Gomes then blasted his second career grand slam, a towering fly ball over the left field wall and the Indians’ lead became 12-0.
“Take away the first two innings and we’re still out there playing,” a half-joking Yost said. “It was one of those games. It got away from us early, and we couldn’t do anything offensively.”
The lone bright spot for Kansas City was Garcia. Even though he gave up five runs, he pitched 5 2/3 innings.
“He saved our bullpen,” Yost said.
NOTES: There have been six pairs of back-to-back shutouts by teams in the majors this year and the Indians have three of them. The Indians blanked the Royals 4-0 on Friday and 4-0 on Saturday. Cleveland leads the majors with 14 shutouts overall. ... Indians closer RHP Cody Allen (370) needs two more appearances to pass Rafael Betancourt (371) for eighth place on the Indians’ career list for games pitched. ... Royals SS Alcides Escobar started his 300th consecutive game on Sunday -- the longest streak in Royals history. Escobar’s streak began Sept. 26, 2015. ... RHP Ian Kennedy will start for Kansas City on Monday at Kauffman Stadium against Tampa Bay. Kennedy is winless in his last 16 home starts. His last home win came Aug. 20, 2016, vs. Minnesota. Kennedy’s winless streak at home is the longest (in starts) in Royals history.