The Cleveland Indians keep on rolling at home, and they have opened up what has to be considered a considerable lead in the Central Division, with an assist from the Seattle Mariners.
Behind four solo home runs and a strong performance from Fausto Carmona, the Tribe won their tenth straight game at Progressive Field tonight with an 8-2 win over the tumbling Kansas City Royals, who have now lost six games in a row.
With their fourth three-game sweep of the season — and with the Mariners’ sweep of the Tigers in Detroit — Cleveland now leads the Central Division by 4 1/2 games as the Tribe prepares for a three-game weekend set at home against Detroit, which remains tied for second with the Royals at 12-13.
The Indians, who have not lost at home since April 2, are now 16-8 and own the best record in the American League.
Things started right off for Cleveland again tonight, as — with two outs in the bottom of the first — Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana went deep back-to-back to give The Good Guys a quick 2-0 lead over Kyle Davies (1-3, 7.98 ERA). The home runs were Choo’s fourth and Santana’s third of the season.
Grady Sizemore hit his fourth homer leading off the third to make it 3-0, and then the Tribe busted the game wide open in the fourth inning.
Shelley Duncan — starting when Travis Hafner sat out with a swollen ankle — led off the fourth with his first round-tripper of the season. With one out and two on later in the inning, Jack Hannahan drilled a two-run double, scoring Orlando Cabrera and Michael Brantley, and Sizemore followed with a double to make it 7-0. Still with only one out, Asdrubal Cabrera doubled in Sizemore, giving the Tribe their eighth — and final — run of the night.
That was all for Davies, who went only 3 1/3 innings and surrendered eight runs on nine hits, walking one and fanning four.
The Royals’ bullpen did a decent job, once the barn door was finally closed, going 4 2/3 scoreless frames, but Carmona had all that he needed.
Carmona worked out of a jam in the third, when Kansas City put runners on second and third with only one out, and kept the Royals off the board until the seventh inning. In his final frame of work, Wilson Betemit drove in the only K.C. runs of the night with a two-run double, but that was all the noise the Royals would make in this one.
Carmona (2-3, 5.15 ERA) ended up going seven innings, giving up only five hits and the two runs. Fausto walked two and fanned a pair.
Tony Sipp pitched a perfect eighth, striking out one, and Justin Germano gave up a hit and fanned one in a scoreless ninth to end it.
The Indians — who outscored Kansas City 24-8 in the sweep — are scheduled to send Jeanmar Gomez tomorrow night at 7:05 against the Tigers Max Scherzer, who is undefeated in 2011, sporting a 4-0 record.