KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — In the span of three innings, the Indians’ Tyler Naquin homered to left field, sent a two-run double down the right-field line and connected on a three-run homer over the center-field wall.
Talk about using all fields.
The rookie outfielder’s career-high six RBIs, along with three more homers by teammates and a stellar outing by Carlos Carrasco, led Cleveland to an 11-4 romp over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.
“I mean, we talk about it from time to time with young players, it’s fun to watch what they turn into,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He’s a really strong kid and he’s playing with a lot of confidence.”
It’s easy to have confidence when the rest of the lineup is producing, too.
Mike Napoli went deep for the second straight day. Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana also hit home runs. And the seven-run fifth inning that featured Naquin’s second homer basically put the game away.
“This clubhouse helps a lot, the team chemistry, the guys in here,” Naquin said.
Carrasco (7-3) was cruising along by the time Naquin finished his heroics, allowing one hit in six shutout innings — a double by Cheslor Cuthbert in the fourth that he followed with back-to-back strikeouts.
Carrasco walked two in the sixth for his only other baserunners.
Cleveland’s first four homers were off Ian Kennedy (6-8), whose bizarre pitching line included eight strikeouts and only one walk. But it was the ninth straight game Kennedy has served up a homer, and he has allowed 26 of them this season, tied with teammate Chris Young for most in the majors.
Kansas City scored all its runs off reliever Austin Adams in the eighth.
The division-leading Indians, who are 4-5 against the hapless Minnesota Twins this season, improved to 26-8 against the rest of the AL Central. They are 8-5 against the Royals.
For the second day in a row, a first-inning homer — this time by Kipnis, his 16th — gave them instant offense. Naquin added a solo shot in the third before adding a two-run double in the fourth.
Cleveland put away the game with a seven-run fifth inning.
With a heat index of 105 degrees at first pitch, Carrasco coolly sliced up a Kansas City offense that scored seven runs in a single inning in the opener. The right-hander retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced around his lone single, and he struck out six while throwing just 84 pitches.
He won for the fifth time in six starts and improved to 6-1 in eight starts in Kansas City.
Kennedy wound up allowing seven runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings for the Royals. It was a rare poor start for him at Kauffman Stadium; he entered the game with an AL-best 2.11 ERA at home.
“I guess any time you give up a home run, you try to justify it a little bit,” Kennedy said. “The ball was flying a little bit, but they’re homers. The curveball to Naquin — that’s a second time I’ve given up a home run to a left-hander to left field. You don’t see that very often.”
The Royals will meet President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday during a ceremony to honor their World Series title. It will be the fifth president that manager Ned Yost has met: Jimmy Carter and George Bush used to come to Braves games when Yost coached in Atlanta, George W. Bush threw out the first pitch on opening day once, and Bill Clinton greeted the champion Braves at the White House in 1996. “So this will be my fifth president,” Yost said, “which is kind of cool.”
Royals: LF Alex Gordon got the day off as he continues to battle out of a season-long slump. He’s hitting just .200 through 62 games after signing a $72 million, four-year deal in the offseason. He missed several weeks with a fractured wrist in a collision with 3B Mike Moustakas.
Indians: OF Michael Brantley was expected to have an MRI exam on his ailing right shoulder Wednesday, though the results were not yet available. Brantley experienced a setback while on a rehab assignment.
The Royals open a three-game set Friday night against Texas. The Indians also have a day off before visiting Baltimore on Friday night.