KANSAS CITY, Mo.: Ryan Merritt retired the final 13 batters he faced in five strong innings in his first big-league start, Francisco Lindor hit a three-run homer and the Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals 7-2 Friday night.
Merritt (1-0) gave up a run on three hits in the first, but nothing after that. Merritt, who had made three relief appearances after being promoted Sept. 11 from Triple-A Columbus, threw 62 pitches, striking out four and walking none.
Lindor, who snapped an 0-for-29 drought with a double in a four-run third, homered off the left-field foul pole with pinch runner Michael Martinez and Carlos Santana aboard in the seventh.
Santana, who had three hits, tripled in two runs in the fourth and scored on Jason Kipnis’ sacrifice fly. Jose Ramirez singled with two outs to score Lindor.
Yordano Ventura (11-12) gave up four runs and six hits with three walks and struck out eight in six innings.
Eric Hosmer singled in a run in the first, upping his RBI total to a career-high 104. The Royals, who had three singles in the first, did not have another base runner until Hunter Dozier singled with one out in the eighth. He scored on Drew Butera’s triple.
Indians catcher Yan Gomes, who suffered a right shoulder separation in July and a fractured wrist on Sept. 14 when rehabbing in the minors, was activated from the 60-day disabled list. Gomes entered in the seventh as a defensive replacement.
Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco (broken little finger on his pitching hand) was put on the 60-day DL to make roster space for Gomes. ... Right-hander Corey Kluber (strained quadriceps) threw in the outfield before the game, but there is no timetable when he will throw off the mound again. ... Right-hander Danny Salazar (forearm tightness) could throw a simulated game Monday.
Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales had only two at-bats Thursday before leaving with a fever and feeling sick, but returned to the lineup Friday.
Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer, who will likely start the postseason opener Thursday, will make his final regular-season start.
Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez, who had a 7.77 ERA in five September starts, makes his sixth start of the season against the Indians.