CLEVELAND — Entering the sixth inning of their Saturday afternoon matchup against the Cleveland Indians, Royals pitcher Jakob Junis looked to be cruising towards another quality start in his young career. He had struck out the side in the fifth, and had retired eight batters straight after allowing a solo homer to Francisco Lindor in the third inning.
In total, Lindor recorded four extra-base hits, and was the main instigator in the Royals’ 6-2 loss to Cleveland on Saturday at Progressive Field, a game that was delayed 75 minutes due to rain.
Junis’ day began to sour two batters into the sixth, as Lindor and Michael Brantley’s back-to-back doubles gave the Indians a 3-2 lead, with the proverbial knockout blow to Junis coming three batters later on Yonder Alonso’s two-out RBI single to give Cleveland a 4-2 lead.
Two walks later, and Junis’ day was done, an early exit to a promising start.
Both offenses traded blows early on thanks to the top of their lineups. The Royals jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Salvador Perez drove in Jon Jay on a groundout in the top of first, but it was quickly wiped away in the bottom of the inning when Lindor doubled to lead off the frame and was driven in on an RBI single by Brantley.
The Royals once again broke through in the third inning when Jay and Jorge Soler hit back-to-back doubles to give Kansas City a 2-1 lead, with Lindor again playing spoiler in the bottom of the inning with a 345-foot home run down the right-field line to tie the game at 2.
As Junis settled into the game after the third, Indians starter Mike Clevinger began to settle in as well, allowing one Royals batter to reach base between the 4th and 7th innings.
The Indians added two more runs in the seventh inning on Lindor’s second homer and an RBI single by Edwin Encarnacion.
Not only did Lindor extend his hitting streak to 13 games, but he also became the third player this year to record four extra-base hits in one game.
Clevinger’s seven innings of two-run ball continued his success against Kansas City. He now holds a 2.17 ERA and is 4-0 in seven career appearances (six starts) against the Royals.