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The Tribe take care of business against the Royals

This game was the baseball equivalent of an afternoon picnic

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Corey Kluber was on the mound, the Royals were at the plate, and the former shut down the latter, restoring natural order to the world. Kluber’s last start against Kansas City saw him chased after five innings and five earned runs. Not today. Today, the Tribe’s ace emerged triumphant, striking out 10 and leading the Indians to a 3-1 victory over the Royals.

Jason Kipnis, whose every at-bat seems like an audition now that he is a lame duck second baseman, got things started in the third inning with a leadoff double off the wall in left. Yan Gomes singled to center field to put runners at the corners with one out... until Yan was thrown out on the basepaths like a nincompoop (TOOTBLAN) second trying to advance to second on a throw home.

Fortunately, Greg Allen lined a single to left field to score Kipnis and put the Indians ahead, 1-0.

The Royals were able to pull even in the fourth inning, ending Corey Kluber’s clean-shaven scoreless streak. Alex Gordon doubled to left field and then scored when rookie first baseman Dustin O’Hearn tripled to center field, sending a shot past the outstretched glove of a diving Greg Allen. It was all tied up at 1-1, and the stunned crowd at Progressive Field was left to wonder if maybe Kluber should have kept the beard. There was panic in the seats.

Michael Brantley singled up the middle with one out in the fifth. Yandy Diaz flexed his biceps and lined a grounder to shortstop Alcides Escobar that, off the bat of any other hitter, would have set up a double play. Instead, Escobar couldn’t handle it, Diaz was safe at first, and Brantley advanced to third, where he would score from on a groundout by Edwin Encarnacion. That ball also could have been a double play if not for Royals second baseman Rosell Herrera, who decided not to challenge the speed of the Tribe’s designated hitter.

But thanks in part to the Royals’ defense, the Indians weren’t done.

In the eighth inning, Yonder Alonso lined a single to center before Brandon Guyer laid down a bunt that Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier fielded. The ball was almost certainly headed for foul territory, but Dozier picked it up anyway, then didn’t seem to know what to do with it. When he finally decided to throw it, the ball sailed past both O’Hearn and Guyer at first base, putting runners at second and third with no outs.

Kipnis, already with a double, a single, and a stolen base to his name, added a sac fly to right field to bring home Alonso and extend the Indians’ lead to 3-1.

It’s worth mentioning that the reclamation of Cody Allen continues, small sample size be damned. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two Royals. The former closer is scoreless in his last four appearances, which have totaled 3.2 innings pitched.

Brad Hand took over in the ninth against the top of the order, striking out the side for the save.