KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger limited the Kansas City Royals’ scoring opportunities. His offense, meanwhile, provided an abundance of breathing room out of the gate in a game that quickly turned into a rout.
The Royals lost their third consecutive game on Saturday night as the Indians rolled to a 9-1 victory in front of an announced 31,181 for the third game of a four-game series at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals on Sunday afternoon will try to avoid the sweep.
The Indians (62-42) scored the first eight runs of the game, including a trio of home runs — one a grand slam — off Royals starting pitcher Glenn Sparkman. Sparkman (3-7) allowed eight runs on nine hits and one walk in five innings.
In his past two starts against the Indians, Sparkman has allowed 12 earned runs on 18 hits (five home runs) in 10 2/3 innings.
The Royals recently recalled relief pitchers Richard Lovelady (one inning) and Kyle Zimmer (two innings) and each pitched in relief. Josh Staumont, who pitched for the first time since his major-league debut on Thursday, also tossed an inning of relief.
Clevinger (5-2) allowed one run on eight hits and struck out seven in seven innings. He didn’t walk a batter, and he held the Royals to 1 for 5 with runners in scoring position.
Royals center fielder and former Gardner Edgerton High School star Bubba Starling (1 for 4) extended his hitting streak to 11 games, and he also tied the club record for most consecutive games reaching base to start a major-league career. Starling shares that record (12 games) with Johnny Damon.
Alex Gordon and Cheslor Cuthbert each had multi-hit games for the Royals (39-67), while Whit Merrifield drove in the team’s lone run.
Not only did the first four batters of the game reach base, but they all scored on one swing. Sparkman gave up back-to-back singles to Francisco Lindor and Oscar Mercardo, and then he hit Mike Freeman with a pitch, which loaded the bases.
Then Jason Kipnis crushed a 2-1 offering from Sparkman high and deep to right-center field for the Indians’ first grand slam of the year as they grabbed a 4-0 lead before an out had been recorded.
Lindor added a solo homer in the second inning that put the Indians up 5-0, and Jose Ramirez launched a three-run homer in the fifth as the Indians lead expanded to 8-0.
The Royals first run came on Merrifield’s RBI single in the fifth inning with runners on second and third. Starling got thrown out at the plate trying to score from second base.
Lovelady gave up a run in the sixth inning to make the score 9-1.
Left-hander Danny Duffy (4-5, 4.32 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Royals on Sunday opposite Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer (9-7, 3.49).