Royals shut down by Jimenez in loss to Cleveland
By DAVE SKRETTA
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Over the first few innings Monday night, Wade Davis kept making good pitches that the Cleveland Indians kept hitting into holes in the Kansas City Royals defense.
When he started making poor pitches, though, everything really unraveled.
Ryan Raburn hit a three-run homer to cap a six-run fifth inning, and Ubaldo Jimenez shut down the Kansas City offense in a 9-0 victory that gave the Indians a split of their four-game series.
"A tough night. They hit some good pitches off Wade, but they hit some mistakes, too," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Wade wasn't up in the zone, but a lot of the balls they hit were catching a little too much of the plate down."
Such as the one Raburn sent scorching over the fence in the fifth inning.
Raburn added another homer off reliever Kelvin Herrera in the eighth, and Jason Kipnis also went deep on a big night for Cleveland's struggling offense.
"I put myself in some spots," said Davis (2-2), who allowed eight runs and 12 hits and three walks in just 4.2 innings -- little improvement over his previous start, when he went 3.2.
"My pitch selection was probably off," he said. "I made some bad decisions and didn't execute."
Jimenez (1-2) didn't have any such problem.
He allowed only two walks and an infield single by Billy Butler over his first seven innings. Otherwise, the former All-Star kept the Royals off balance in a dazzling start that brought back memories of the pitcher who once threw a no-hitter for the Colorado Rockies.
"He threw the ball well," said Mike Moutaskas, who doubled off Jimenez in the eighth. "He got ahead of us early and mixed his pitches well. That's a great pitcher out there. His track record speaks for itself. We had an off-day. He was mixing in three or four pitches. He had a good sinker with good action. He was getting ahead 0-1 and putting us in a hole nearly every at-bat."
Jimenez has struggled mightily over the past couple of years, and hadn't won a game since Aug. 9, 2012. He'd lost all eight of his decisions over 12 starts, and had been especially dreadful of late, allowing 18 earned runs in 11 innings during his past three outings.
The Royals couldn't solve him, though.
They didn't really come close.
"You're always looking to be encouraged," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "but we flew right past encouraged and got sideways. ... That was just so much delight tonight."
Jimenez faced the minimum number of batters through the first three innings, and would have been flirting with another no-hitter had Butler not hit a grounder to the right of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera with two gone in the fourth. Cabrera was too deep in the hole to throw out Butler at first base, resulting in the Royals' only hit until the eighth inning.
Kipnis hit his first home run since Sept. 13 with one out in the first, and Michael Brantley's leadoff double and a base hit by Cabrera in the third gave the Indians a 2-0 lead.
Davis kept minimizing the damage until the fifth, when Brantley's one-out double again stirred up trouble. Kipnis walked and Cabrera followed with an RBI double. Mark Reynolds added a two-out base hit, and Carlos Santana's run-scoring double pushed Cleveland's lead to 5-0 lead.
Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland came out to visit Davis, but it didn't do much good. Raburn's three-run shot, his first homer since May 15, 2012, finally chased him from the game.
Moustakas doubled leading off the eighth against Jimenez, and a single by Jeff Francoeur finally ended his night. Reliever Nick Hagadon left both runners stranded by retiring three straight batters, though, preserving Jimenez's fine performance.
"It felt really good," Jimenez said. "I was able to throw everything for a strike, fastball, breaking ball. It all felt good."