KANSAS CITY: Double-digit run production has been both a blessing and a curse for the Indians this season.
While the Indians haven’t always followed up an offensive explosion with a loss, they sometimes have followed it up with a drought.
Going into Tuesday, they were 2-2 after 10 or more runs had crossed the plate in the previous game. But in those four games, they’d scored a total of 15 runs, eight of those in one 13-inning triumph at Baltimore last month.
Other than that instance, Death Valley Days have generally been the sequel to an Indians’ rout.
It happened again Tuesday night against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium, especially in the first seven innings. Twenty-four hours after a 10-run triumph over the Texas Rangers in Arlington on Lonnie Chisenhall’s historic evening, Royals left-hander Jason Vargas stymied the Indians 9-5.
The outcome snapped the Indians’ three-game winning streak, although they have still won nine of their last 11 to climb back above .500 (33-32).
Vargas was nearly as effective with his glove as his arm as he made two outstanding defensive plays. The Indians mustered only six hits in 7⅔ innings off Vargas (6-2, 3.30); on Monday they had four players with at least that many.
Jason Kipnis broke up Vargas’ shutout bid with a two-run double to the right field corner in the eighth inning and Carlos Santana followed with a run-scoring single to center. Kipnis was activated from the disabled list on May 28. It was his first extra base hit since April 24.
The Tribe totaled six of its 10 hits in the final two innings.
Indians’ right-hander Corey Kluber (6-4, 3.35), suffered through his second consecutive rough outing, but not all of it was his doing. He gave up Eric Hosmer’s two-run home run to center field in the fifth, but three of the Royals’ four runs in the third inning were unearned.
In the third, the Royals used a one-out walk, three singles and an error to take the lead. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera committed a dropped Jarrod Dyson’s routine grounder that would have been the second out and could have started an inning-ending double play. Advancing runner Alcides Escobar was initially called out at second on the transfer rule, but Royals manager Ned Yost challenged and the call was overturned.
Hosmer put the game away with his home run. He was 2 for 20 against Kluber before he drove a 1-0, low-and-away Kluber offering 401 feet over the wall. Kluber pitched five innings and gave up six runs, three earned, while walking two. In the meaningless-to-Kluber category, Kluber struck out six Royals, giving him 105 for the season.
Kluber lasted only 3⅔ innings in his last outing against the Red Sox on June 4, when he gave up four runs on five hits of a no-decision.
Chisenhall, who went 5 for 5 Monday with three home runs and nine RBI, was 2 for 4 Tuesday with a double.
Marla Ridenour can be reached at email@example.com. Read the her blog at www.ohio.com/marla. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.