Royals 11, Indians 7
On Wednesday night, the Indians opened a game with back-to-back home runs for only the third time in franchise history. Grady Sizemore’s leadoff shot was Cleveland’s 11,000th home run, and the count reached 11,002 by night’s end.
The Royals’ bats relegated those achievements to footnotes. Kansas City homered four times in an 11-7 victory, winning for the eighth time in 10 games and dropping the AL Central-leading Indians to 11-13 on the road.
“In the past, we’ve kind of put a little too much pressure on ourselves to get things back and get things going,” said second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, who was 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs. “I think we’re relaxing now, we’re coming up with some big hits, and it’s contagious.”
John Buck and Mike Sweeney each homered for the second straight game, fueling a five-run second inning for the Royals. Buck added an RBI double and Alex Gordon also homered and drove in two runs for Kansas City, which has won three straight and is looking for its first series sweep of the year.
Reliever Brandon Duckworth (2-3), who went three strong innings, inherited a lead but was credited with the victory because starter Scott Elarton failed to go five innings. Indians starter Cliff Lee (2-1) also failed to get out of the fifth.
Sizemore and Casey Blake opened a wild first inning with back-to-back home runs, but the Royals erased Cleveland’s 3-0 lead with two runs in the first and their big second inning to go up 7-3.
Buck led off the second with a homer, and Sweeney capped it with a two-run shot. In between, Grudzielanek hit an RBI double and scored on Mark Teahen’s single.
“I pretty much gave them two runs there in the first and five more in the second,” Lee said. “You know that’s definitely not what you’re supposed to do when your team goes out and scores three runs for you in the top of the first. I pretty much take full responsibility for the loss and I’ve got to do a better job than that—period.”
He’ll get no argument from Indians manager Eric Wedge.
“He’s better than that,” Wedge said. “If we go out there and take it to them like we did in the top half of the first, he sure as hell has got to do a lot better than that. If you’re not ready for this game, it will kick you and it will kick you hard.”
Lee gave up eight runs on 10 hits, walking three and striking out one.
The Royals never trailed again, but Elarton sat down with two out in the fifth, after David Dellucci’s RBI ground-rule double got Cleveland within 7-4 and put runners on second and third. Duckworth got Josh Barfield to ground to short, ending the threat, and retired the first nine batters he faced before Ryan Garko doubled with two out in the eighth.
Barfield doubled Garko home to get Cleveland within 9-5. Jimmy Gobble then came in and struck out Sizemore.
“If we can come in and do our job and give our team a chance, that’s huge,” Duckworth said. “The hitters and defense feed off that as well.”
After giving up Gordon’s solo homer with one out in the fifth, Lee was relieved by Mike Koplove, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Buffalo earlier Wednesday. Buck’s double off Koplove later in the inning put the Royals up 9-4.
Cleveland homered on consecutive at-bats for the second time this year. The last previous time the Indians opened a game with consecutive homers also came in Kansas City, on July 21, 2002.
Jhonny Peralta’s sacrifice fly put Cleveland up 3-0. Then the Royals mounted their comeback—after a few false starts.
David DeJesus and Grudzielanek led off the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles. But on Kansas City’s next two at-bats, DeJesus got caught in a rundown between third and home and Blake threw Grudzielanek out at the plate on a ground ball to third.
Emil Brown and Gordon followed with RBI singles, cutting the margin to 3-2.
To make room for Koplove on the roster, the Indians optioned RHP Edward Mujica to Buffalo. … Royals manager Buddy Bell said his arthroscopic surgery Monday was to remove a bone fragment and clear out other loose matter from his right knee. … Royals relievers have the team’s last four victories and six of the last seven. Duckworth has two of them.