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Cleveland Indians baffle Kansas City Royals behind arm of Ryan Merritt

By Jim Ingraham, The Sports Xchange
Cleveland Indians baffle Kansas City Royals behind arm of Ryan Merritt
Ryan Merritt and the Cleveland Indians stymied the Kansas City Royals on Friday. Photo by Darren Calabrese/UPI | License Photo

CLEVELAND -- Ryan Merritt pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings and Francisco Lindor had two hits, including a two-run home run, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 Friday night at Progressive Field.

Four Indians pitchers combined for Cleveland's American League-leading 13th shutout of the year.

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Merritt (1-0) was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to make a spot start, and he made the most of it. The 25-year-old left-hander struck out three, walked one and scattered seven hits.

Kansas City starter Jason Vargas (14-8) pitched five innings, allowing four runs on six hits with two strikeouts and two walks.

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Vargas retired six of the first seven batters he faced until Yan Gomes led off the third inning by slapping a single to right field, snapping his 0-for-14 hitless streak. Giovanny Urshela, who had a career-high four RBI Thursday night, bounced a double off the left-field wall, scoring Gomes and giving Cleveland a 1-0 lead.

Urshela went to third on the throw home trying to get Gomes. Lindor grounded out to third, and Urshela had to hold third. But Austin Jackson singled to right field, scoring Urshela to make it 2-0.

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Merritt allowed runners in four of the first five innings, but coaxed double play grounders to bail himself out of two of those innings. Through five innings the Royals had five hits, but no runs.

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In the bottom of the fifth, Urshela singled with one out then rode home on Lindor's 23rd home run, his second in as many nights, a long blast over the left-field wall off a 3-0 pitch from Vargas.

Lindor's homer extended Cleveland's lead to 4-0.

NOTES: The Indians announced that LHP Andrew Miller, on the DL with right knee patellar tendinitis will be shut down for five to seven days and then will be re-evaluated. ... RHP Shawn Armstrong was optioned to Triple-A Columbus in order to make room on the roster for LHP Ryan Merritt, who was recalled from Columbus to make a spot start Friday night. ... Indians 1B Carlos Santana, who missed the previous three games due to tightness in his lower back, returned to the lineup Friday. ... Royals 3B Mike Moustakas, who needs two home runs to break Steve Balboni's club record for home runs in a season (36 in 1985), did not play due to a sore knee. ... The Royals (57) and Indians (61) have made the fewest errors in the American League. ... The Royals have hit 157 home runs this year. They are on a pace to hit 202, which would shatter the current club record of 168, set in 1987.

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