CLEVELAND — When manager Ned Yost made the short walk to the mound to relieve starter Danny Duffy during the fourth inning of the Royals’ 11-2 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field on Sunday, it would be understandable if he was feeling some form of déjà vu.
It was the third time in four days he was pulling a starter before the fifth inning. It was the second time in three days he was pulling a starter in the fourth inning after they allowed nine runs.
Duffy’s outing was plagued by home runs.
The Indians’ first long ball came in the second inning when Jose Ramirez lifted a 394-foot three-run home run over the wall in right field to complete a five-run frame. The Indians opened the scoring in the inning on RBI groundouts from outfielders Greg Allen and Michael Brantley.
Francisco Lindor helped Cleveland scratch across another run in the third when the Indians’ shortstop brought Yan Gomes in on an RBI single, extending Lindor’s hitting streak to a career-high 14 games.
Gomes knocked Duffy out in the next inning with a three-run blast that sailed 393 feet to right-center field to give Cleveland a 9-0 lead.
For Duffy, who is now 1-5 with a 6.51 ERA this year, it was another start in what is quickly becoming a nightmare campaign for him.
Outside of the two unearned runs given up in the sixth inning, Corey Kluber had another dominant start against an American League Central opponent. Kluber (6-2) struck out four Royals over six innings and is now 20-3 with a 2.24 ERA against AL Central teams since the start of 2016.
The Royals managed to get to Kluber in the top of the sixth inning thanks in part to two errors by the Indians’ defense. Jorge Soler reached on an error by Ramirez and came around to score on a Salvador Perez double. Perez was driven in two batters later by Whit Merrifield.
Duffy allowed nine runs over 3 1/3 innings while walking five and striking out two. Duffy joined Ian Kennedy (nine earned runs allowed in four innings against Baltimore last Thursday) and Jason Hammel (nine earned runs allowed in 3 2/3 innings against Cleveland on Friday) in what has been a rough turn of the rotation for Kansas City.