KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Homer Bailey has endured some tough times since he pitched no-hitters in 2012 and 2013. He showed flashes of nearly that kind of dominance Saturday night against the Indians.
Bailey pitched seven innings of two-hit ball and the Kansas City Royals won 3-0 for their second straight win after a 10-game skid.
Indians manager Terry Francona was impressed.
“He kind of sped our bats up with his fastball and then he spun the breaking ball,” he said. “We knew there were chances there were going to be times like this. (It’s) hard to go through, but gotta keep fighting, gotta fight for everything you can get.”
Ian Kennedy pitched a perfect eighth and Willy Peralta followed in the ninth for his first save to complete the two-hitter.
“We executed a lot of pitches tonight,” Bailey said. “It was about time the pitching stepped it up. Our offense has been outstanding all year. To be able to go out and do that and pick them up was great.”
Ryan O’Hearn homered and Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi each had an RBI single for the Royals.
Bailey (1-1) entered the game with an ERA of 9.00 in two starts this season, including his last outing when he gave up seven runs, eight hits and two walks in five innings against Seattle on Monday. He had one win in his last 22 home starts, and had not won in an American League ballpark in nearly seven years.
“In his first two starts his split and curveball have been really good,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Where he’s been getting in trouble has been the mistakes (with the fastball). There haven’t been a lot of them; there have been four of five a game that have cost him.
“Going into the game today (the key was to) limit the mistakes with your fastball, because your split and curveball are pretty good pitches. That’s exactly what he did. He threw the ball extremely well.”
Everything was working for Bailey, who gave up two hits to No. 8 hitter Brad Miller. He was able to eliminate mistakes with his fastball as well, which made him almost unhittable.
“We got ahead,” Bailey said. “We were pretty efficient, and we got some ground balls we needed. We got some strikeouts early. We had three or four pitches working. If you can do that and stay within yourself you can have some success.”
Jefry Rodriguez (0-1) gave up two runs and five hits over 5 2/3 innings in his first start with Cleveland. He was acquired in the offseason from Washington in the trade that sent catcher Yan Gomes to the Nationals.
“I thought he really represented himself well,” Francona said. “I mean he made a couple of mistakes that he paid for, but a lot of nights we’re sitting here saying the kid pitched great and he got a win. I thought he really handled himself well.”
The Royals got on the board in the bottom of the third. Martin Maldonado led off the inning with a double to left-center, snapping an 0-for-17 stretch. He moved to third on a fly out to left and scored on Mondesi’s two-out single.
The Royals added another run in the fourth when O’Hearn hit his second homer of the season, 429 feet to right field.
“I was looking heater, but he hung a change-up and I reacted to it,” O’Hearn said.
Merrifield had his second hit of the night, a two-out single in the seventh that drove in Hunter Dozier to give the Royals a 3-0 lead.
INDIANS: Shortstop Francisco Lindor is likely headed to a minor league rehab assignment as early as Monday. Lindor had a workout Saturday, running the bases for the second day in a row. Francona said he’ll go to Louisville to join Triple-A Columbus, if there are “no ill effects, no repercussions of a second-day workout.” Lindor has not played this season due to a right calf strain and a left ankle sprain.
ROYALS: Center fielder Billy Hamilton was kept out of the lineup for a second straight game with a mild MCL sprain and a bone bruise on his left knee suffered when he crashed into the wall Thursday. Yost says he’s about ready.
The Indians are expected to recall outfielder Carlos Gonzalez from Columbus before today’s game. Gonzalez hit .348 with a home run and three RBIs in six games at Columbus.