Miller returns but allows Perez HR as Royals beat Indians
By STEVE HERRICK, Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — Andrew Miller returned Friday night, but the tough times for the Cleveland Indians’ bullpen aren’t over.
The reliever, activated from the disabled list before the game, gave up Salvador Perez’s two-run homer in the seventh inning and the Kansas City Royals rallied for a 10-9 win.
“I did a really poor job with one pitch and I paid for it,” Miller said.
Miller (1-1), making his first appearance since straining his left hamstring April 25, allowed his first runs of the season and the Royals rallied from a 9-4 deficit. He entered the game in the seventh with a one-run lead, but walked Jon Jay on a 3-2 pitch. Jorge Soler and Mike Moustakas struck out before Perez hit a 1-1 pitch onto the home run porch in left field. Miller, who had pitched 10 scoreless innings before the injury, was removed following the homer.
“Obviously I felt a little rusty to Jay, but other than that I felt pretty good,” he said. “I thought I made some good adjustments after that. I hung a slider to Salvy and he killed it.”
“I didn’t know it was his first game back, not at all,” Perez said. “He’s a great pitcher, one of the best relievers in the league.”
The Indians have lost five of six and fell to 18-19.
Cleveland went 5-9 and its bullpen had a 9.50 ERA while Miller was sidelined. Indians manager Terry Francona said consideration was given to have Miller make a couple of minor league rehab assignments, but the decision was made to activate the star left-hander.
“I know it was It was tough, he didn’t want to give up a home run, but I think that inning here was better than him pitching in a Triple-A game for him,” Francona said.
Alcides Escobar had four RBIs for Kansas City while Lucas Duda doubled three times and drove in a run. Jay had two RBIs and Moustakas had three hits.
Brad Keller (1-1) pitched three scoreless innings for his first major league win. Kelvin Herrera retired the side in order in the ninth for his eighth save.
“There were a lot of impressive things about that ballgame,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Michael Brantley’s grand slam capped a six-run fourth inning that gave Cleveland a 9-4 lead.
Brantley ended an eight-pitch at-bat by hitting a 2-2 delivery from Jason Hammel into the right field seats for his second grand slam this month and of his career. He also hit a game-tying grand slam in the ninth inning against Texas on May 1.
Kansas City scored a run in the fifth and three more in the sixth. Shortstop Francisco Lindor’s throwing error to start the sixth made two of the runs unearned. Rookie center fielder Greg Allen dropped a line drive in the third, leading to another unearned run.
Tyler Naquin’s two-run double in the fourth gave Cleveland a 5-4 lead. Jose Ramirez and Yonder Alonso homered in the first against Hammel, who hasn’t won since September 6, 2017, a stretch of 12 starts.
Indians starter Trevor Bauer allowed five runs and a career-high 11 hits in 4 2-3 innings. Hammel gave up nine runs, including three homers in 3 2-3 innings.
Keller’s teammates had a special surprise waiting for the rookie following the game.
“They took me in the bathroom, covered me in baby powder and gave me a beer shower,” he said. “It was in my eyes and I couldn’t see for like 10 minutes, so that was pretty cool.”
TOUGH WAY TO PLAY
Cleveland’s pitchers combined to allow 15 hits and the two errors accounted for three unearned runs. Reliever Dan Otero was charged with three runs — one earned — in two-thirds of an inning.
“As a team we’re not really playing winning baseball right now,” said Bauer, who admitted he needs to pitch better. “We’re not making winning pitches. We’re not making winning defensive plays. The offense came through big tonight and we still weren’t able to win, because we beat ourselves in two other aspects of the game.”
Lindor returned to his high school at Montverde Academy in Florida on Thursday to pay up a bet. Lindor told the current players at his former school that he would have his head shaved if the team went undefeated. After Montverde completed a 25-0 season, Lindor visited the school on the Indians’ day off and the current players broke out the clippers.
Indians: OF Bradley Zimmer, still dealing with a bruised chest after running into the wall at Yankee Stadium last weekend, didn’t play. Allen replaced him in center and dropped a fly ball in the third leading to an unearned run. …. Naquin was removed in the top of the fifth with left hamstring tightness. He had an MRI following the game.
Royals RHP Jakob Junis (4-2, 3.18 ERA) takes on Indians RHP Mike Clevinger (2-0, 2.76 ERA). Clevinger struck out a career-high 10 in his last start at the Yankees on May 6.