Roster Update: Another familiar face will possibly be joining the Indians as Russell Branyan has signed a minor league deal with the team and will report to Columbus. Most likely this was so he could get in a few games in AAA before joining the team in September when rosters expand.
In a separate move, Yan Gomes has been reinstated from the 7 Day Concussion DL and was in the starting lineup tonight. His replacement, Chris Gimenez, has been placed on the Paternity List and will presumably rejoin the team sometime after September first as well.
Player of the Game
While almost every member of the offense had something to do with the win today, Carlos Santana had the most to do and struck the killing blow with a two out, two run home run in the ninth. Santana also hit an RBI single in the third, giving him three on the day while going 2/4 with a walk.
The third best player today was Jose Ramirez with a POG score of 3.80 (Danny Salazar scored 5.70 and Santana 5.98). While he has only averaged 0.75 per game so far this season, he is heating up of late and has scored at least 2.50 in four of his last six games for an average of 2.05 over that span. The highest average per game of any hitter on the season is Michael Brantley with a 1.77.
The Indians used luck and good base running to add two runs in the third, pushing their lead to 3-0. Tyler Holt lead off the inning with a bunt single off the plate, then went to second when Jason Vargas threw the ball down the right field line. Jose Ramirez hit a single to left that scored Holt, who aggressively went for home when Alex Gordon didn’t field the ball cleanly. Ramirez stole second on the first pitch to Michael Brantley, then stayed there when Brantley hit an infield single to the hole at short. Carlos Santana came up next and hit a bloop single to right that scored Ramirez and moved Brantley to third, where he scored on a Jason Kipnis fielder’s choice.
The Indians scored more than three runs tonight and didn’t completely depend on Zach Walters’ home run swing, a great improvement over their normal effort against a slow throwing left hander. Each member of the team had at least one hit except Michael Bourn, including all three left handers in the line-up. While Walters did bring home the first run with an RBI double, it was the combined efforts of the team as a whole that lead to the four run lead.
In each of his three starts since rejoining the Indians, Danny Salazar has improved and while rain shortened, this may have been his best this year. Against the Central Division leading Royals, Salazar threw five shut out innings (he was at just 73 pitches when the rain delay hit, so he probably could have thrown a couple more otherwise) and allowed just four hits, all singles. Salazar walked two and struck out three with three of his base runners being allowed with two outs so the Royals were unable to start a rally.
Milestone Alert: The win against the Royals was the 9,000th in club history, making them the third American League franchise, following the Yankees and Red Sox, to make it to that plateau.
Mike Moustakas continues to confound the Tribe, even without the bat (he was 0/2 with a walk) he is always a dangerous player. Over and over again, the Indians tested him at third and he made a number of fantastic defensive plays. The one positive of this is that the Indians third baseman, Lonnie Chisenhall, matched him play for play in a surprising show of great defense.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 6 – Kansas City Royals 1
On Deck: The series will continue at 7:10 PM EDT in Kansas City as Trevor Bauer will face James Shields in game two of this all important series.