Indians bury Kansas City Royals 12-0 with nine-run second inning, third consecutive shutout

CLEVELAND: As Yan Gomes’ grand slam left the field in the second inning of Sunday’s game, the Kansas City Royals’ postseason hopes might have sailed away with it.

A three-run first inning was followed by a nine-run, three-home-run explosion in the second—capped by Gomes’ grand slam—and the Indians buried the Royals 12-0 at Progressive Field.

The Royals came to Cleveland six games back in the division race and needing to make up ground against a beat-up Indians club. Instead, the Indians blanked the Royals in a all three games, likely putting them in a hole out of which they won’t be able to climb.

The Royals (64-65) arrived in town probably needing to win the series. They left without a single run scored.

Carlos Carrasco (13-7) tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing six hits and striking out eight. Craig Breslow and Zach McAllister followed with scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth, respectively. It marked the first time since 1956 the Indians recorded three consecutive shutouts.

“It’s unbelievable, man,” Gomes said when asked about the pitchman staff’s recent run. “I just went up to [Roberto Perez] and was like, ‘Hey, that’s the kind of stuff [can] really build some momentum. … I was looking at [Royals third baseman Mike] Moustakas in the ninth and it’s almost like you’re pitching a no-hitter sort of deal. Let’s get this last inning and finish it and we did.”

It also extended the Indians’ current scoreless innings streak to 28. That’s the longest such streak in the majors this season and the longest for the Indians since they tossed 31 consecutive scoreless innings in 2008.

“Yeah, crazy,” Brandon Guyer said. “They’re the best staff in the league. It’s fun to play behind them, even though it can get boring behind them at times because there’s not a lot of action. What they do doesn’t really surprise any of us.”

Holding a 12-0 lead, Gomes and Carrasco wanted to ensure Sunday’s game wouldn’t become interesting again.

“That was one thing we talked about right in that nine-run inning, we were both looking at each other like, ’It’s still a one-run ballgame, let’s take it like that and just kind of build off of it,’” Gomes said. “We just wanted to make sure that we were still driving it in there and really twisting it in there on them. We were not going to take anything off.”

Though, it was the Indians’ lineup that put Sunday’s game away in a hurry against Royals starting pitcher Eric Skoglund (1-2). Francisco Lindor walked and Austin Jackson singled to lead off the first. Jose Ramirez followed with an RBI double and Edwin Encarnacion scored a run via a groundout. Two batters later, Guyer singled to left to score Ramiez, capping the Indians’ three-run inning.

Then, like a match to a powder keg, the Indians (73-56) erupted for nine runs in the second, all of them coming via three home runs. First, Lindor belted his 24th of the season, a two-run shot to left field, extending his career high for home runs in a single season. Carlos Santana followed with a three-run home run off reliever Onelki Garcia that clanked off the left-field foul pole, making it 8-0.

Four batters later, the haymaker, a grand slam to the Home Run Porch off the bat of Gomes. And in a matter of minutes, Sunday’s game—and possibly much more for the Royals—was put out of reach.

“That can sure kill a team’s momentum,” Gomes said, speaking of the Royals. “Every team, especially in this kind of situation, we’re all trying to build momentum starting the ballgame and we did with a three-run inning in the first, but then I think when you put a nine-run inning in that second you kind of take the air out of everyone, so you just let Cookie go and do his thing.”

After the game, Gomes wore a shirt that read "Gut Punch." It wasn't directly referencing the game. But for as tough of a weekend as the Royals had, it might as well have been.