KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals had lost 10 straight.
Carlos Carrasco quickly ended their misery.
The Indians’ usually reliable right-hander allowed six runs and didn’t make it out of the first Friday night in an 8-1 loss.
The Royals hit for the cycle in the opening inning — Whit Merrifield led off with a single, Adalberto Mondesi followed with a triple and Alex Gordon homered, with Chris Owings’ two-out, two-run double finishing Carrasco (1-2).
“Right off the bat, (he) just didn’t look like he was letting it go with conviction,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Pitching out of the stretch after the first hitter, it just unraveled from there. That makes it really tough on the staff, because then you’re looking at trying to go eight innings with your bullpen, which puts a real strain on everybody.”
Gordon could smile about his baserunning mistake because of an otherwise great game.
Gordon homered, doubled twice and singled.
“Yeah, bad turns around the bases,” Gordon said of getting thrown out at third while trying to stretch his second double into a triple. “We practice that all spring training. You’re supposed to hit it with the right foot and cut the corners. I think both bases I hit it with the left foot and almost fell down.”
Gordon said he was definitely thinking about a cycle.
“When I was going around first I kind of thought about it. I was like, ‘Let’s try to get a triple here.’ You’re never supposed to get the third out at third, but I wanted to try for it.
“I knew I had a double and a homer. The hardest one to get, especially for me, is probably the triple. That was the perfect situation. They had a good relay, and I’m not that fast anymore.”
The 10-game losing streak was the longest for the Royals since June 29-July 9, when they also lost 10 straight. Starting pitcher Brad Keller said it was on everyone’s mind, though they were confident it would end soon.
“That was kind of the vibe in the clubhouse — when is it going to happen, especially after a tough loss yesterday,” he said of a 10-inning loss to Seattle. “To go out there and (have) the offense put up six runs in the first, it was very comforting to go out there and pitch.”
Keller (2-1) gave up one run on three hits, striking out a career-high 10 in 6 2/3 innings. He has pitched at least six innings in nine straight starts, the longest active streak in the majors.
Tyler Naquin hit a 420-foot home run in the second, snapping a streak of 54 innings in which Keller hadn’t allowed a homer. It had been the longest active string in majors.
Keller’s 118 pitches were the most by a Royals starter since James Shields threw 124 on July 29, 2014.
“I felt good,” Keller said about heading to the mound with 105 pitches in the seventh. “I didn’t feel like it bothered me much. My whole goal was to pump strikes, to prove to them I could go out there and pitch with 105 pitches.
“Besides the five walks, the 10 punches (strikeouts) were good. Maybe if I don’t walk any guys, I get deeper in the ballgame. That was the one downfall from tonight.”
The Royals added a run in the sixth on a double steal.
Indians: SS Francisco Lindor is going to run the bases again today, according to Francona. Lindor has not played this season with a right calf strain and a left ankle sprain. “If all goes well, then we’re going to reconnect with the doctor, and see what he thinks the next step is,” Francona said.
... 2B Jason Kipnis is on a rehab assignment in Triple-A Columbus. Francona said he’s doing well recovering from a low-grade right calf strain, and he expects to see Kipnis sometime on the road trip to Kansas City and Seattle.
Indians RHP Jefry Rodriguez was being called up from Triple-A Columbus after the game. He will make his first start with the Indians after one start with Columbus, where he allowed three runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Rodriguez will make his season debut. He was acquired by Cleveland as part of the trade that sent Yan Gomes to Washington following the 2018 season.
Royals RHP Homer Bailey (0-1, 9.00 ERA) will be looking for his first victory since May 12.