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Billy Butler hit a pair of home runs to power Kansas City past Cleveland, 12-0, in the opener on Friday. Melky Cabrera added a grand slam and Alex Gordon homered and doubled while knocking in three runs for the Royals, who have won three of five.
Jeff Francis (4-11) tossed eight shutout innings to earn his first win since beating the Angels on June 10.
“If I can just keep throwing strikes and let the defense do it’s job things will work out,” said Francis. “I felt good out there tonight and this is something positive to build on.”
Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana both doubled for the Indians, who had just five hits and have dropped seven of eight.
Carlos Carrasco (8-9), who was ejected in the fourth inning, was pegged with the loss after giving up seven runs on seven hits in just 3 1/3 innings.
Carrasco became upset after Cabrera stood in the batter’s box to admire his home run and in return delivered a pitch inches from Butler’s head. Carrasco was immediately ejected as the benches cleared, but order was quickly restored and there were no further ejections.
“We always said that pitching sets the tone and obviously he didn’t bring his ‘A’ game tonight,” said Cleveland manager Manny Acta about his starter. “He didn’t have any command out there and just struggled.”
Orlando Cabrera singled in the second inning, breaking a 10 2/3 inning hitless-drought for the Tribe. Kosuke Fukudome was hitless in his Indians debut to end a five-game hit streak.
Not much has gone right for Kansas City righty Felipe Paulino this season, as he is just 1-8 with a 4.54 ERA with the Royals and Rockies. Paulino has racked up 73 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings, but he has yielded 86 hits and has gotten very little run support. On Sunday, Paulino allowed four runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings of work in a loss to Tampa Bay.
Paulino has never faced Cleveland.
Slated to oppose the Royals tonight is Justin Masterson, who has been fantastic through 21 starts for Cleveland. Although his 8-7 record is rather mediocre, Masterson owns a 2.57 ERA, the more accurate reflection of just how well he has pitched. One of his seven losses came on Sunday against the White Sox despite the fact that he yielded only one earned run on four hits in seven innings of action.
Masterson has already posted two victories over Kansas City this season and is now 3-2 lifetime versus the Royals.
The Indians have won seven of 10 over the Royals this season, including a three-game sweep at home in late April.