Luis Mendoza’s strong outing leads Royals past Indians
Kansas City, MO, United States (4E Sports) – Luis Mendoza showed no ill-effects from strep throat that delayed his start by two days, tossing six-plus strong innings to lead the Kansas City Royals to a 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians Friday at Kauffman Stadium.
Mendoza (8-9) limited the Indians to two earned runs on eight hits with three strikeouts to hand the Royals a third straight win and relegate Cleveland to solo last place in the American League Central.
“He recovered nicely,” Royals manager Ned Yost told MLB.com. “His breaking ball was a little flat at times, but he had real good movement on his two-seamer. He got a lot of ground-ball outs to second base. It was funny because he’d get two quick outs and then get in trouble, but he pitched around it for the most part effectively.”
Since Aug. 17, Mendoza went five starts without a personal win along with one loss and four no-decisions, although the Royals won three of those games.
Mendoza got into a jam in the first inning when he surrendered singles to Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Kipnis, who were later moved into scoring position by a sacrifice bunt by Asdrubal Cabrera.
But the right-hander struck out Carlos Santana and forced Travis Hafner to a groundout to end the inning.
“To strike him (Santana) out was hard. He’s a great hitter, and I just pitched around him a little bit and got him out,” Mendoza said.
The Royals gave Mendoza 4-1 lead going into the seventh inning but he was pulled out for lefty Tim Collins when Ezequiel Carrera led off with a bunt single.
“The lineup was turning back around and we’re in the seventh,” Yost said. “Their whole lineup is left-handed except for the two switch-hitters hitting three and four and we decided we’d start using our lefties against them.”
Collins had some trouble when he hit Choo with a pitch, and after getting two outs, surrendered a two-run single to Santana for a 4-3 score in the seventh frame
The Royals recovered in the bottom of the eighth after Eric Hosmer hit a sacrifice fly that scored Mike Moustakas scores while Jeff Francoeur added another run from a double by Brayan Pena, who had two hits and two RBIs.
Closer Greg Holland got the final three outs on seven pitches to earn his 15th save in 18 chances.
“Fortunately, the last two outings have been quick so I feel pretty good right now. Especially when you’re winning, you always feel good,” Holland said.
Justin Masterson (11-15) was saddled with the loss after allowing four earned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts in six frames.