Winning six of the first seven games since the All-Star break, the Royals entered Cleveland as one of the hottest teams in baseball. Struggling to keep down the Indians lineup in the early going, Kansas City was bested by the Tribe in game one, 10-5.
Facing All-Star MVP Shane Bieber, the Royals offense looked to continue their impressive trend of five straight games with five runs or more. And in the bottom of the first, it was the inability of Biebers location and composure that tallied the first run of the game. After walking two to load the bases, the Cleveland starter balked home Alex Gordon to give Kansas City a 1-0 lead before the home half. Unable to tack on any more, Mike Montgomery took the mound in the bottom of the first for his Royals debut. Slated for a 40-50 pitch limit, Montgomery struggled to put away the first two hitters, adding to his pitch count and putting Kansas City’s brief lead in jeopardy.
Following back to back singles from Francisco Lindor and Oscar Mercado, the lefty nearly escaped the inning on a double play ball. Originally ruled out to end the threat, Indians’ manager Terry Francona challenged the call at first. Overturned rather quickly, the Tribe knotted things back up at one a piece.
In the aftermath of a scoreless second on both sides, the third inning saw plenty of action. Leading things off with a single by Whit Merrifield and Alex Gordon to make it first and third, opportunity to reclaim the lead came knocking on the door for the visitors. On the next at-bat, Hunter Dozier smoked a double down the line to plate Merrifield and put runners in scoring position with nobody out again. Unfortunately, a strikeout and an acrobatic slide at the plate by Gordon that was called safe, was overturned, ending the scoring for the Royals in the inning. Hoping to squeeze one more inning out of Montgomery in the bottom half, manager Ned Yost sent him out at just under 30 pitches. However, four consecutive hits and three runs later and Yost found himself making a call to the bullpen. With just two-plus innings of work, Montgomery exited and Brian Flynn entered. Allowing an inherited runner to cross home, making it 5-2, Montgomery’s final line had five earned runs to his name.
Trailing 6-2 in the top of the sixth, the Royals came storming back in the blink of an eye. With the bases loaded and two outs, Merrifield stung a triple in the gap, clearing the bases. Trimming the lead to one, Kansas City managed to chase Bieber from his outing. Although in striking distance, a tall task remained in trusting the bullpen to keep the Indians quiet. After the three-run sixth, Cleveland came back with one of their own, extending the lead up to two. Unable to muster many scoring chances in the seventh and eighth, the Tribe finally dashed any hopes of a comeback in what would be their final at-bats of the evening.
Calling on Wily Peralta to keep the lead at two heading to the ninth, the Indians thrashed him for three runs on three hits. Giving up double digits in the scoring column, the Royals came to hit without as much hope as they had the inning before. Going scoreless for the third straight frame, Cleveland slammed the door and took game one, 10-5. Tomorrow, the Royals will hand Jakob Junis the ball. Adam Plutko will go for the Indians. First pitch is set for 6:10 CT.