Kansas City, Mo. Over the first few innings Monday night, Wade Davis kept making good pitches that the Cleveland Indians kept hitting into holes in the Kansas City Royals defense.
When he started making poor pitches, though, everything really unraveled.
Ryan Raburn hit a three-run homer to cap a six-run fifth inning, and Ubaldo Jimenez shut down the Kansas City offense in a 9-0 victory that gave the Indians a split of their four-game series.
“A tough night. They hit some good pitches off Wade, but they hit some mistakes, too,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Wade wasn’t up in the zone, but a lot of the balls they hit were catching a little too much of the plate down.”
Such as the one Raburn sent scorching over the fence in the fifth inning.
Raburn added another homer off reliever Kelvin Herrera in the eighth, and Jason Kipnis also went deep on a big night for Cleveland’s struggling offense.
“I put myself in some spots,” said Davis (2-2), who allowed eight runs and 12 hits and three walks in just 4 2/3 innings — little improvement over his previous start, when he went 3 2/3.
“My pitch selection was probably off,” he said. “I made some bad decisions and didn’t execute.”
Jimenez (1-2) didn’t have any such problem.
He allowed only two walks and an infield single by Billy Butler over his first seven innings. Otherwise, the former All-Star kept the Royals off balance in a dazzling start that brought back memories of the pitcher who once threw a no-hitter for the Colorado Rockies.
“He threw the ball well,” said Mike Moutaskas, who doubled off Jimenez in the eighth. “He got ahead of us early and mixed his pitches well. That’s a great pitcher out there.
"His track record speaks for itself. We had an off-day. He was mixing in three or four pitches. He had a good sinker with good action. He was getting ahead 0-1 and putting us in a hole nearly every at-bat.”
Jimenez has struggled mightily over the past couple of years, and hadn’t won a game since Aug. 9, 2012. He’d lost all eight of his decisions over 12 starts, and had been especially dreadful of late, allowing 18 earned runs in 11 innings over his past three outings.
The Royals couldn’t solve him, though.
They didn’t really come close.
“You’re always looking to be encouraged,” Indians manager Terry Francona said, “but we flew right past encouraged and got sideways. ... That was just so much delight tonight.”