The Cleveland Indians will look for their third straight win Saturday evening when they host the Kansas City Royals in the third game of a four-game series.
The first win in the series Thursday snapped Cleveland’s nine-game losing streak, and both wins came on walk-off home runs in the ninth inning.
On Saturday, Cleveland will send right-hander Cal Quantrill (0-2, 4.20 ERA) to the mound to face Royals lefty Mike Minor (6-7, 5.36).
The Indians will be hard-pressed to win in more dramatic fashion than they’ve done in the first two games of the series. Thursday night they trailed 3-1 entering the eighth inning but got a three-run home run from Roberto Perez to take the lead. Former Indians star Carlos Santana tied the game for the Royals with a solo home run in the top of the ninth.
That was short-lived. Franmil Reyes hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to give the Indians a 7-4 win.
“When I see Carlos hitting the homer, I told myself, ‘If I get up to hit, I’m going to be the one, I’m going to do this for my team,'” Reyes said after the game. “It’s something unbelievable.”
On Friday, the Indians led 1-0 heading to the eighth after Triston McKenzie allowed only one hit through seven innings. Facing reliever Emmanuel Clase, Jorge Soler tied the score with his first homer since June 10.
The Indians then blew a big chance to retake the lead in the eighth. They had Cesar Hernandez on first and Daniel Johnson on third with no outs when Amed Rosario hit a ball to shortstop Nicky Lopez, who threw home. Catcher Salvador Perez chased Johnson back to third, where Hernandez was waiting. Perez tagged Hernandez and Johnson with both on the bag, leading to Hernandez being called out. Then, Johnson strayed off the bag and was tagged out.
The baserunning miscue was forgiven when Bobby Bradley hit a walk-off home run in the ninth to lift the Indians again.
Royals manager Mike Matheny said he was happy with the performances of Soler and starter Brad Keller, who gave up one earned run and struck out nine in 7 2/3 innings.
“We’re going to celebrate (Keller and Soler) taking steps forward, and we can’t just do that after wins,” Matheny said. “But the overall goal is the same, every single night. We had to sit and watch them walk us off again.”
Quantrill has had six straight no-decision starts. He’ll start against the Royals for the first time in his career and is 0-0 with two unearned runs in five innings over three outings.
Minor has lost three straight starts, allowing 18 earned runs in 16 innings in those starts. He’s 3-0 with a 1.26 ERA in his career against Cleveland.
In another pitching note, if Royals reliever Kyle Zimmer gets to face Indians outfielder Bradley Zimmer on Saturday, it will mark just the fifth time since 1976 that one brother who is a pitcher faces another who is a position player in a major-league game.
Brother combinations have matched up 10 times since 1970, but six of the situations were two pitchers who both hit. The four previous pitcher vs. position player matchups include Royals legend George Brett against his older brother, Ken, many times between 1976-79.
Both Zimmers are former first-round draft picks who played at the University of San Francisco. Kyle was taken fifth overall in 2012 by the Royals; Bradley was selected 21st overall by the Indians in 2014.
–Field Level Media