The Indians topped the Kansas City Royals 7-2 on Friday night behind a strong outing from Ryan Merritt.
Merritt had his start pushed back to Friday after Thursday’s game in Detroit was rained out. He responded by allowing only one run on three hits in five innings while striking out four.
Francisco Lindor went 2-for-3, snapping an 0-for-27 slump entering the game. In the seventh inning, Lindor hit a three-run home run, his 15th of the season, to make it 7-1. It’s a positive sign for the Indians, as Lindor had begun to slump in his first full season in the big leagues.
Friday night was also the surprise return of catcher Yan Gomes. Gomes was on the 60-day disabled list with a broken right hand and was seemingly done for the year. Earlier in September, Indians manager Terry Francona essentially said he had a one-percent chance of returning. On Friday night he did, checking into the game in the seventh inning. It remains to be seen if Gomes can swing a bat, but his inclusion into the game was nothing short of amazing considering his original timetable and injury.
Carlos Carrasco was transferred to the 60-day disabled list in a corresponding move.
The American League playoff picture also became a bit clearer Friday night. The Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1, clinching the No. 1 seed and homefield advantage. That means the Indians will play the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, with homefield in that series still to be determined.