Royals burned by long ball against Indians

Royals burned by long ball against Indians

Royals burned by long ball against Indians
CLEVELAND -- Royals reliever Louis Coleman absorbed another hard blow on Saturday night.

Asdrubal Cabrera pounded a three-run homer off Coleman in the eighth inning to give the Cleveland Indians an 8-7 victory over the Royals as 35,370 fans savored the 74-degree evening at Progressive Field.

With two out, pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall singled and Kosuke Fukudome walked. On Coleman's 1-1 slider, Cabrera pounded a drive into the right-field seats to wipe out the Royals' 7-5 lead.

It was in Coleman's previous appearance, last Wednesday night at Toronto, that he gave up a decisive homer to Brett Lawrie in the Blue Jays' 4-3 win.

"Just making some costly mistakes," Coleman said. "Just getting behind or whatever and it's just not good timing."

Royals manager Ned Yost believes that Coleman, who had a glossy 1.64 ERA prior to his last three outings, needs to redefine his recent pitch selection.

"He's gotten away from pitching off his fastball," Yost said. "He threw 23 sliders, eight fastballs. When he's going to be successful he's going to be pitching off his fastball, not off his slider. So that's a conversation we're going to have to have [Sunday]."

That might be a worthwhile pursuit, considering what Cabrera said about his home-run swing.

"I hit a slider. That was the pitch he threw to everybody in front of me. I was just looking for that pitch," Cabrera said.

This was the Royals' second straight one-run loss to the Indians and it came after a dramatic home run by Alex Gordon gave them a 7-4 lead in the seventh inning.

No wonder the Indians changed pitchers in the seventh inning. Gordon not only had two hits off starter Fausto Carmona in this game, he was 15-for-31 (.484) against him in his career.

"He's a great pitcher and I think sometimes I just get lucky and my confidence gets up a little bit, and I see him a little bit better," Gordon said.

Left-hander Tony Sipp was brought in to face the left-handed-swinging Gordon. Sipp previously had held Gordon to 1-for-6.

So much for that strategy. Gordon belted a 1-1 pitch from Sipp into the right-field seats, a three-run homer that snapped a 4-4 tie. It was Gordon's 18th blast of the season.

"First and third, one out, I was just trying to drive the ball and score the guy from third, just not hit into a double play," Gordon said. "I was actually looking for a slider and got one."

Those sliders were trouble for everybody.

Mike Moustakas, continuing a long climb out of the hitting depths, boosted his hitting streak to 10 games (18-for-35, .514). He concluded the Royals' three-run fourth against Carmona with a two-RBI double. Gordon started the inning with his 40th double of the season.

Jack Hannahan, a journeyman infielder who specializes in making things miserable for the Royals, did it again by driving in three runs against Royals starter Danny Duffy. He had an RBI single and a two-run triple.

A left-handed hitter who has also played with Detroit, Oakland and Seattle, Hannahan is a .375 (15-for-40) hitter against the Royals this season with 13 of his 31 RBIs against them. In an earlier Tribe win he homered twice off Luke Hochevar. Against the rest of baseball, Hannahan is batting .218.

Let's not forget, either, about Cleveland's returning hero, Jim Thome, who celebrated his 41st birthday in style. He blasted a solo homer into the left-field seats to tie the score at 4 and knock Duffy out of the game in the sixth inning.

It was the 602nd home run of Thome's career and his 335th for the Indians, but first since 2002, and it sent the crowd into a delirious howl. They were rewarded when Thome emerged from the dugout to doff his headgear.

After the game, it was Duffy lifting his lid.

"Any time you give up a bomb to Jim Thome, you've got to tip your hat to the guy, he's a pretty dang good hitter," Duffy said. "I thought I threw the ball well, I just made two stupid mistakes. I left that one up to Thome and hung a curveball to Hannahan."

After Gordon's homer, Royals reliever Blake Wood got into trouble in the bottom of the seventh and gave up a run. With two on, Thome came up again and lefty Tim Collins was summoned to face him. On Friday night, Collins had walked in the deciding run in the Indians' 2-1 win, but this time he struck out Thome to redeem himself.

Once Cabrera's three-run shot had stopped reverberating, the Royals stirred some ninth-inning hope against Indians closer Chris Perez when Salvador Perez led off with a single and reached second base on an error. But Alcides Escobar bunted and Chris Perez threw out Salvador Perez at third base.

"Esky bunted on his own, we weren't looking to bunt there," Yost said. "Sal's going to score on a base hit, he's not going to be a big-time base-clogger."

Yost would have preferred a grounder to the right side to move the runner to third, if not a run-scoring hit. Escobar then stole second, but Perez ended the game by striking out Gordon and Melky Cabrera.

"We just didn't pitch good tonight," Yost said. "It just felt like we were trying to stick our fingers in the dike all day long before it finally caved in on us."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.