Mondesi’s 3-run HR lifts Royals to 9-4 win over Indians
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Adalberto Mondesi hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer to lift the Kansas City Royals to a 9-4 win over the Cleveleand Indians on Saturday night.
Corey Kluber gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings in his final regular season start for Cleveland. Working with a short pitch count in his tune-up for American League Division Series against Houston, Kluber struck out six while throwing 80 pitches.
Indians catcher Yan Gomes left the game in the bottom of the third with an injured right hand after he was hit by Alex Gordon’s bat on a backswing as he attempted to throw out would-be base-stealer Mondesi. The Indians’ training staff led Gomes off the field as Gordon was called out for interference and Mondesi sent back to first. Gomes was replaced by Roberto Perez.
Kluber finished the year fifth in the AL with a 2.89 ERA. He walked 34 batters in 33 starts for a league-leading walk rate of 1.42 per nine innings.
After reliever Andrew Miller (2-4) gave up a single to Alcides Escobar in the sixth and a two-out walk to Whit Merrifield, Mondesi hit the next pitch into the left-center stands to break a 3-3 tie. The Royals added another run with consecutive hits by Gordon, Hunter Dozier and Ryan O’Hearn.
Merrifield led off the bottom of the first with a sharp single to center, then stole second and third. He leads the American League with 191 hits and 44 steals. Merrifield, who also had a two-run double in the fourth, has a 19-game hitting streak, tying for the longest in the majors this year and matching his career best set last year.
Jakob Junis (9-12) went six innings, allowing three runs and eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Junis has walked just three in his last seven starts, over 56 innings, the best walk rate among American League starters over that span. Junis is 4-1 in 11 starts since Aug. 1, with a 3.38 ERA.
Mondesi has hit seven of his 14 homers in the last 15 games. Since August 25, he is hitting .322 (39 for 122) with 10 homers and 19 RBIs over 29 games.
Rookie Meibrys Viloria had three hits and drove in the Royals’ first run with a two-out, second-inning single.
Yonder Alonso and Melky Cabrera gave the Indians a 3-1 lead in the third with consecutive two-out, run-scoring singles.
Jose Ramirez, who had three hits, capped the scoring with a solo homer, his 39th, to lead off the eighth. Ramirez is hitting .177 (25 for 141) over his last 39 games.
Indians: INF Erik Gonzalez is under concussion protocol after getting beaned Wednesday. “He’s doing better today,” manager Terry Francona said. “He’s actually going to go do some stuff in the weight room, get the blood flowing.”
Royals: C Salvador Perez was held out of Saturday’s lineup due to nagging left thumb pain. “It’s been sore all month,” manager Ned Yost said. “It’s one of those things that he deals with and he’s still been very productive.” Perez is expected to be ready for Sunday’s season finale.
RHP Carlos Carrasco (16-10, 3.42 ERA) closes out the regular season against LHP Eric Skoglund (1-5, 5.40). Francona expects Carrasco to throw about 80 pitches before giving way to RHP Trevor Bauer, who the Indians hope will finish from there.