Indians 9, Royals 2
Carlos Carrasco Returns to the Mound
The biggest storyline for the Indians was that starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco made his first start of 2020. Carrasco dealt with cancer last season. Eventually, he did return to the mound at the end of 2019. This start was monumental in many ways, though.
Carrasco surrendered five hits and one walk while recording two earned runs and 10 strikeouts. The first earned run came when Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi hit a double in the top of the fourth. Following that, Carrasco struck out designated hitter Jorge Soler before giving up a single to catcher Salvador Perez. That allowed Mondesi to score.
The following inning, third baseman Maikel Franco led off with a single. Carrasco followed with two consecutive strikeouts to Franchy Cordero and Erick Mejia before surrendering a walk to outfielder Brett Phillips. Franco advanced to second before second baseman Whit Merrifield hit a single, scoring Franco. That scored the second and final run of the game for Kansas City.
In all, Carrasco threw 87 pitches – 62 of which were strikes. His most effective pitch was his slider, which resulted in nine swinging strikes and five strikeouts. It had an average velocity of 84.3 miles per hour.
Ramirez Leads the Scoring against Royals
Switching to the offense, the biggest storyline was designated hitter Jose Ramirez. Ramirez hit two home runs – one from each side of the plate! The first came in the bottom off the fourth with third baseman Yu Chang and second baseman Cesar Hernandez on base. The other was a solo shot to left field off of left-hander Richard Lovelady in the bottom of the sixth.
Furthermore, the Indians started scoring right out of the gate off of right-handed starter Ronald Bolanos. Jose Ramirez started things off by reaching on a throwing error. Following that, Francisco Lindor struck out before a walk to first baseman Carlos Santana. With Ramirez at second and Santana at first, Bolanos threw a wild pitch, allowing both runners to advance. Left fielder Franmil Reyes followed with a single, scoring Ramirez.
Then right fielder Domingo Santana hit a single to plate Carlos Santana. While attempting to turn the single into a double, Domingo Santana was thrown out at second, ending the inning.
Fast forward to the bottom of the third. It was another important inning for the Indians offense. Caesar Hernandez led off with a single, followed by a single by Jose Ramirez that brought Hernandez across. Ramirez advanced to third due to a fielding error by Franchy Cordero.
Francisco Lindor kept the line moving with a double to left. That brought in Ramirez for the other run. After a mound visit, Jorge Lopez of the Royals followed with two consecutive outs to Carlos Santana and Franmil Reyes. Mike Matheny made a pitching change, bringing in Gabe Speier, who allowed a single to Domingo Santana before striking out center fielder Bradley Zimmer to end the inning.
Indians Bullpen Closes Things Out
Following the impressive performance by Carrasco, the Indians bullpen definitely did its part against the Royals. Oliver Perez was the first reliever called into action and made history in the process. Perez is pitching in his 18th career season this year. That sets a record for a Mexican-born player.
Perez ended up recording two of the five strikeouts recorded by Cleveland’s bullpen. Dominic Leone got called into action for the eighth inning while right-hander Cam Hill made his official debut to close out the game. Hill was originally drafted by the Indians during the 17th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Redlands Community College.
On the other side, the Royals bullpen struggled overall. Kansas City relievers combined for all seven earned runs while recording five strikeouts over six innings. The bright spot for the Royals was right-hander Kyle Zimmer, who struck out three in the eighth.
Next Up for the Indians
With the first series under their belt, the Indians will now prepare for a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox. First pitch is at 6:10 Eastern Monday. Right-hander Aaron Civale takes the mound for Cleveland. Dylan Cease gets the start for the White Sox in his 2020 debut.
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