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Royals vs. Indians – Game Recap – April 6, 2018

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CLEVELAND — Michael Brantley singled home two runs in his first at-bat this season and Carlos Carrasco worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 3-2 win in their chilly home opener over the Kansas City Royals on Friday.

Brantley missed Cleveland’s first six games while on the disabled list recovering from offseason ankle surgery. But just hours after being activated, the two-time All-Star delivered in the first inning against Danny Duffy (0-2), who managed to hang around until the sixth.

Following devastating finishes in the past two postseasons, the Indians are hoping this is the year they end their 70-year World Series title drought, baseball’s longest.

Brantley is a major part of their plans, but he needs to stay healthy after being limited to 101 games the past two seasons due to injuries.

Carrasco (2-0) gave up two runs in the first inning, but settled in. The right-hander retired 13 straight before running into trouble in the sixth, when the Royals loaded the bases on two singles and a one-out intentional walk.

But Carrasco struck out Lucas Duda looking at a 3-2 pitch and retired Cheslor Cuthbert on a liner to left.

Nick Goody worked the seventh, Andrew Miller put on two runners then struck out the side in the eighth, and Cody Allen pitched the ninth for his second save.

The Indians, who didn’t hit while blowing a 2-0 lead to New York in the AL Division Series last October, came in batting a league-low .161. They only got four hits, but that was enough thanks to Carrasco and their top-flight bullpen.

The Royals dropped to 3-16 in Cleveland since May 8, 2016.

Down 2-0 in the first, the Indians benefited from Duffy’s early wildness to score three times.

The left-hander, possibly bothered by the bitter, blustery weather conditions, walked Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis before Jose Ramirez dribbled an RBI single through the middle.

After Duffy’s third walk of the inning, this one to slugger Edwin Encarnacion, Brantley dropped a two-run single into right, a satisfying moment for the 30-year-old who has spent the past two seasons battling back from shoulder and ankle injuries.

The Royals scored twice in the first on an RBI groundout by Mike Moustakas and Duda’s broken-bat RBI single, which came after he inadvertently flung another bat into the netting behind home plate.

WELCOME BACK

Rajai Davis received a huge ovation from Cleveland’s fans during pregame introductions. Davis, who hit a game-tying homer in the eighth inning of Game 7 in the 2016 World Series, re-signed with the club this winter.

Davis doubled in three at-bats.

CHILLING OUT

The Royals have played a league-low five games, thanks to weather postponements against the White Sox and Tigers. But manager Ned Yost isn’t fretting about their erratic workload. “You can’t do anything to change it, so it’s as difficult as you want to make it,” he said. “You just try to go with the flow the best you can.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: Duda (right hamstring tightness) returned to the lineup after missing one game. Yost said he will serve as the designated hitter all weekend.

Indians: Brantley’s workload will be closely monitored before he plays regularly. Manager Terry Francona said the Indians will use a “common sense” approach with Brantley, who has been limited to 101 games over the past two seasons.

UP NEXT

Kansas City RHP Ian Kennedy (0-0, 1.50 ERA) takes on Cleveland RHP Trevor Bauer (0-0, 3.60 ERA) in the second game of the series Saturday. Kennedy is winless in his last five starts against the Indians. Bauer pitched five innings in his first start.

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Oakland A’s clinch third straight playoff berth, but ‘a lot bigger goals’ remain

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OAKLAND, Calif. — An AL West title will mean so much more than simply clinching a playoff berth given how the past two seasons have gone for the Oakland Athletics.

Then, the A’s might let loose and celebrate a little. But not just yet.

They secured a third straight playoff berth with Seattle’s loss to San Diego and a 6-0 win against the San Francisco Giants on Friday night, highlighted by Matt Olson‘s three-run homer.

“Clinching the playoffs is the goal every single year. Exciting, but winning the division I think is going to be a lot better for us,” winning pitcher Chris Bassitt said. “It was literally another win. We have a lot bigger goals.”

The A’s scoreboard read “Postseason Bound” high above the cardboard cutouts of fans filling the Oakland Coliseum.

Oakland is in the playoffs for the sixth time in nine seasons and now shifts its attention to the division title, which could be locked up Saturday. The A’s haven’t won the West since 2013, winning 97 games each of the past two seasons to finish in second place behind Houston and before losing the AL wild-card game both years.

Olson connected in the third inning of a balanced offensive attack for the A’s in the opener of the second round of the 2020 Bay Bridge Series.

Jake Lamb‘s RBI single in the first staked Bassitt to a quick lead. The right-hander struck out seven over 6 2/3 innings to win his third straight start.

“He’s been absolutely terrific,” manager Bob Melvin said, “probably as consistent as we’ve had all year.”

Tommy La Stella and Marcus Semien also singled in runs for the A’s, who finally got a day off Thursday following a grueling stretch with 16 games in 13 days with three doubleheaders.

San Francisco hardly had to travel far to continue its road trip. The Giants were scheduled for games in Seattle earlier this week but smoke from all the West Coast wildfires created dangerous air quality and the clubs instead played at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Wednesday and Thursday. `

The A’s played a Monday doubleheader in Seattle, and players expressed concern about the air.

“The air quality is much better than we last saw it here, it certainly is better than Seattle, too,” Melvin said.

Right fielder Stephen Piscotty missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right knee. The A’s were going to put him through batting practice to determine his status for Saturday.

Also, right-hander Daniel Mengden was medically cleared from a positive COVID-19 test Aug. 28. He has been asymptomatic throughout and resumed throwing off the mound at the club’s San Jose alternate site Friday. He is slated for a simulated game Saturday.

Left-hander Jesus Luzardo starts for the A’s on Saturday afternoon, looking to end a four-start winless stretch in which he is 0-2.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols passes Willie Mays on all-time home run list

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols passed Willie Mays for fifth place on the career home run list, hitting No. 661 on Friday night against Texas.

The 40-year-old Pujols connected for a solo homer with one out in the fifth inning. He sent Wes Benjamin‘s fastball on a 1-2 count over the wall in left field.

Pujols has hit five homers this season. He tied Mays last Sunday at Colorado.

It is only Pujols’ second home run since Aug. 4. He now trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696).

The Angels quickly congratulated Pujols on Twitter.

Pujols has one more season left on his contract with the Angels after this year.

Benjamin was the 428th different pitcher Pujols homered against in his career. Only Bonds has homered against more (449).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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St. Louis Cardinals put pitcher Dakota Hudson on IL with forearm strain

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The St. Louis Cardinals have placed right-hander Dakota Hudson on the 10-day injured list with a strained right forearm.

Hudson left his start Thursday night after two innings due to what he described as discomfort in his right arm.

The 26-year-old is 3-2 with a 2.77 ERA in eight starts this season.

St. Louis added right-handed reliever Nabil Crismatt to take Hudson’s roster spot. Crismatt has a 3.24 ERA in 8 1/3 innings over six appearances this season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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