A longtime fan favorite wasn’t a factor with the bat during his first game with the Cleveland Indians in nine years, but the club still kept pace in the race for the AL Central.
Despite an 0-for-4 effort out of the cleanup spot by Thome, the Indians rallied for a 2-1 win in Friday’s series opener. Cleveland remained 6 1/2 games behind Central-leading Detroit, which defeated Minnesota.
“Baseball’s a weird thing,” said Thome, the Indians’ all-time home run leader with 334. “You can run off seven, eight, nine wins a row and look up and say we’re right there. Hopefully, we can keep going.”
Acquired from the Twins earlier this week for the stretch run, Thome struck out twice for the fifth straight game and is 1 for 18 over that span.
Jack Hannahan’s(notes) RBI single and Ezequiel Carrera’s(notes) bases-loaded walk in the seventh inning helped lift the Indians (64-64) back to .500 for the third time this week, as Cleveland improved to 9-4 against the Royals this year.
Rookie Eric Hosmer(notes) hit his 12th homer for Kansas City (54-78), which has alternated wins and losses in its last seven games. Hosmer is hitting .313 with two homers during a seven-game road hitting streak.
Duffy outdueled Carmona on July 31 in Cleveland, allowing two runs and eight hits in five-plus innings of a 5-3 win. Carmona gave up four runs and six hits through 7 1-3.
Duffy (3-8, 5.48 ERA), however, has lost all four of his starts since then, giving up 16 runs over 21 innings.
“I’ve just got to be a little less aggressive,” the left-hander told the Royals’ official website. “Sometimes less is more. I’m going to come right at you - ‘Here hit it’ - every start but I’ve got to kind of learn to ease up a little bit. I get a little bit too much of a 110 percent sometimes.”
Duffy was charged with two runs and five hits in six innings of Sunday’s 6-1 loss to Boston. He has never faced Thome, who has 601 career homers.
Carmona (6-12, 4.76) has fared much better since last month’s matchup, going 1-1 with a 2.28 ERA in four starts. The right-hander yielded one earned run for the second straight game Monday against Seattle, but didn’t get a decision in the Indians’ 3-2 loss.
“Fausto labored a bit, but had a very good sinker and worked six good innings,” Cleveland manager Manny Acta said.
Carmona is 4-3 with a 3.48 ERA in eight career home starts against the Royals.
Butler had eight hits in his previous 13 at-bats before going 0 for 3 Friday. Gordon went 0 for 4 and has nine strikeouts during a 2-for-15 slump.