Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona admitted his team was frustrated after losing the first two games of its series against the Kansas City Royals.
Perhaps the defending AL champions play better that way.
Jason Kipnis went 4 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs, Josh Tomlin pitched his first complete game in two years, and the Indians rolled to a 10-1 win on Sunday.
“We needed a day like that,” Francona said. “It’s one day but I was happy for our hitters. They were able to relax a little bit.”
Kipnis, who reached in each of his five plate appearances, hit an RBI single in the third and a solo homer in the seventh.
The Indians took out some of their frustration with 18 hits, one short of their season high.
“We know we can be playing better,” Kipnis said. “Games like this only reassure us this is the kind of product we can roll out there when everyone’s going well. This is how good we can be.”
Austin Jackson drove in three runs for Cleveland, and Carlos Santana had three hits and two RBIs. Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez also had three hits apiece.
Tomlin (3-6) tossed a six-hitter for his first win since April 30. It was the right-hander’s first complete game since Sept. 15, 2015, also against Kansas City and No. 5 for his career.
“It means you did your job,” Tomlin said of finishing the game. “That’s a good feeling to know that. The offense put up great at-bats. They put a good lead up there. When we play games like that we’re a tough team to beat.”
Tomlin is 10-4 lifetime against the Royals.
“He’s always good against us because we’re an aggressive team,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “He very seldom makes mistakes and he changes speeds so effectively.”
Royals starter Danny Duffy (4-4) allowed six runs in four-plus innings in his shortest outing of the season.
Rookie Jorge Bonifacio homered in the fifth for the Royals. The drive landed halfway up the bleachers in left field and traveled an estimated 437 feet.
Duffy missed first base trying to catch first baseman Eric Hosmer’s throw and fell to the ground on Brantley’s ground ball to start the fifth. The left-hander remained in the game, but was pulled after allowing singles to Santana and Edwin Encarnacion.
Tomlin struck out three and didn’t walk a batter.
Brantley, Roberto Perez and Bradley Zimmer also had RBIs for the Indians, who had lost four of five.
The Royals went 4-5 on a road trip to Minnesota, New York and Cleveland.
Get to the point
Duffy didn’t mince any words when assessing his performance.
“I pitched lousy,” he said. “I didn’t execute anything. Not a fun day at the park today.”
Headed to bullpen
Indians right-hander Danny Salazar was sent to the bullpen with a 3-5 record and 5.50 ERA in 10 starts. Francona hopes Salazar can regain his confidence while pitching in a relief role.
“He’s not being banished to the bullpen,” Francona said. “We explained everything to him, why and what we’re trying to achieve. He’ll throw a bullpen tomorrow and we’ll get him back on the road to carving people up.”
Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor didn’t start for the first time this season. He committed an error Friday and couldn’t make a leaping grab on a line drive Saturday.
Lindor has a 12-game hitting streak, matching a season high.
Royals: RHP Jason Hammel opens a three-game series against the Tigers. He has lost three straight starts, including a 3-0 decision to the Yankees on May 24.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco begins a four-game series against Oakland. He is 2-0 with a 1.61 ERA in four career starts and five total outings against the Athletics.