Aaron Civale limited the Kansas City Royals to two hits over seven shutout innings to pave the way for the Cleveland Guardians to breeze through a 3-0 victory Friday night.
Civale was dominant from start to finish. He led with his curveball, which accounted for 37% of his pitches and finished the night with a 32% CSW%. But Civale mixed in his cutter, four-seamer, and sinker masterfully, keeping the Royals off balance all night. Of the nine strikeouts he tallied, six of them caught the batter looking. Civale had them guessing. He certainly took advantage of a pitcher-friendly strike zone, but he was able to do so in large part because of his pinpoint control.
Aaron Civale's 3Ks in the 4th. pic.twitter.com/5oHyUGg2dj— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 8, 2023
Obviously Kansas City doesn’t have the most formidable lineup, but if Civale can command the strike zone like this in the second half, that will be good news for the Guardians.
Trevor Stephan and Emmanuel Clase pitched the final two frames to secure the shutout.
Cleveland wasn’t able to generate much offense against Royals starting pitcher Daniel Lynch, but they didn’t need much offense. Josh Naylor put the Guardians on the board with an RBI single in the first inning. They could have added more after a balk by Lynch put Naylor and José Ramírez on second and third with one out. But Kansas City brought the infield in and Josh Bell chopped a grounder to shortstop, where Naylor nearly ran into a double play but instead only ran Ramírez off third base. Ramírez was tagged out and Andrés Giménez popped out to end the inning.
The other two runs came courtesy of a two-run homer by Josh Bell in the fourth inning.