CLEVELAND — Brad Hand bounced back from his recent struggles to record his 30th save, Francisco Lindor hit a two-run homer and the Cleveland Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals 4-1 on Friday night.

The All-Star closer, who had blown three consecutive saves, gave up a leadoff single to Alex Gordon in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Cheslor Cuthbert bounced into a double play, extending his hitless streak to 0 for 39, and Bubba Starling grounded out to end the game.

Hand had allowed seven earned runs and 13 hits over five innings in his previous five appearances.

Lindor also gave his team a much-needed boost. The Indians had lost 7 of 9, including a 2-5 trip to New York that ended with a three-game sweep to the Mets.

The All-Star shortstop hit his 22nd homer, a blast to right field off Jakob Junis (8-12) to give Cleveland a 4-0 lead. Tyler Naquin also had a two-run single in the inning.

Rookie Zach Plesac (7-4) allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander is 3-0 in three starts against Kansas City this season.

Cleveland split four games with the Yankees and was swept by the Mets. The 2-0 loss Thursday night was called in the eighth inning after two rain delays totaling almost three hours. The Indians’ flight to Cleveland arrived around 4 a.m. Friday.
over nine starts since July 3. He’s also 8-0 in his career against the Royals.

RAYS 7, ORIOLES 1: Austin Meadows hit his first career grand slam to cap a seven-run second inning, Trevor Richards shined in his second start with Tampa Bay and the Rays extended their impressive road run by beating Baltimore.

Meadows hit a 2-0 pitch from Ty Blach (0-2) deep into the center-field seats to send Tampa Bay to its fourth straight win over Baltimore. The drive was the highlight of an inning in which the Rays got five hits and a pair of walks.

Tampa Bay has won 11 of its last 12 away games and now sits atop the AL wild-card standings. The Rays’ 42-23 road record is the best in the majors.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

NATIONALS 9, CUBS 3: Anibal Sanchez pitched one-hit ball into the ninth inning and helped himself with two perfectly placed bunts, leading Washington to a win at Chicago.

Juan Soto and Adam Eaton homered as Washington improved to 13-4 in its last 17 games, putting pressure on NL East-leading Atlanta and strengthening its position atop the wild card standings. It has outscored its opponents 129-66 since Aug. 5.

Chicago had won five in a row, but it was unable to overcome a shaky start by Jon Lester (10-9) and another rough performance at the plate. The Cubs finished with three hits, including two in their three-run ninth, a day after they finished with two in a 1-0 victory over San Francisco.

Sanchez (8-6) allowed one earned run to improve to 8-0 in his last 16 starts. Matt Grace got the last two outs.

Sanchez also delivered with his bat, going 2 for 3 after beginning the day with two hits on the year.

He set up Trea Turner’s sacrifice fly in the third with a swinging bunt that he directed toward third to stay away from charging first baseman Anthony Rizzo. He drove in a run with a two-out bunt single in the fourth that died practically on the third-base line.

 

 

NOTES

ORIOLES: GM Mike Elias fired 11 members of the scouting department and front office as part of an effort to turn around a team in the early stages of a major rebuild.

The rookie GM would not reveal the names of those people dismissed, nor the positions impacted.

“We’re in a period of change right now with the industry and we’re in a period of change right now with the Orioles,” Elias said. “Sometimes to make changes you’ve got to make changes.”

The Orioles hired Elias in November and Manager Brandon Hyde in December following a season in which they finished 47-115, their worst record since coming from St. Louis in 1954. This year, Baltimore again is in position to end up with the worst record in the majors, currently leading only Detroit for that dubious distinction.

Elias hopes shuffling personnel and scouting assignments will speed the process of bringing the Orioles back to respectability.

“We are reconfiguring quite a bit. We’re going to be very busy bringing people into this organization,” he said. “This is just the organization moving along and adapting to the sport today.”

He insisted that this wasn’t a cost-cutting move, but rather an adjustment to the current state of major league scouting.

“There are changes going on in the scouting business in terms of greater availability of information in general, video and data. It just changes the way that scouts do their job,” Elias said. “There are instances where we will replace people’s roles kind of man for man, head for head, spot for spot, but there’s other instances where we’re reconfiguring the way the scouts go about their business.”

Elias said the moves were made now instead of after the season to provide those who lost their jobs a jump at getting back into the market. It’s also a chance for him to get a jump on retooling the internal workings of the team.

“This is not to disparage the contributions that have taken place in the past, which is significant,” he said. “But it’s my position to look to the future and make tough choices sometimes. We wish everybody well and hope things work out.”


Comments are not available on this story.