KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – In a startling scene, Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer suddenly heaved the ball from just past the mound over the center field wall while being taken out of the game Sunday in a 9-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
It was not clear whether Bauer was upset with his performance or that manager Terry Francona was pulling him. An All-Star last year, Bauer (9-8) had just allowed a two-run single to Nicky Lopez that gave the Royals a 7-5 lead with one out in the fifth inning.
When Francona emerged from the dugout, Bauer turned, took a couple steps and fired the ball over the 410-foot mark.
Bauer, whose quirky pregame routine includes a lot of long toss, put that practice to use as he let fly. Shortstop Francisco Lindor incredulously watched while second baseman Mike Freeman flinched as Bauer wound up. Rookie center fielder Oscar Mercado had his back turned and was looking at the wall when he saw the ball land, and quickly spun around, trying to figure out what happened.
As Francona reached the mound, he and Bauer appeared to exchange words. Francona pointed Bauer toward the dugout, then followed closely behind him. They both disappeared into the tunnel. They later emerged, separate but both fuming.
Danny Duffy (5-5) picked up the win, though he was hardly stellar. He allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in six innings. Duffy had lost 10 straight decisions to the Indians, dating to May 6, 2015, the most consecutive starts and decisions lost by a Royals pitcher against any opponent.
Trailing 5-3 coming into the inning, the Royals chased Bauer after Lopez’s hit put KC ahead. Ryan O’Hearn, Cheslor Cuthbert and Meibrys Viloria also had RBIs in the inning.
Almost a mirror image of Saturday, the Indians jumped on the Royals starter Sunday as well. Duffy gave up singles to Francisco Lindor and Mercado to start the first. Carlos Santana, back after a couple of days off with shoulder tightness, hit a drive that got up in the wind and carried into the Cleveland bullpen for a three-run homer. On Saturday, it was a grand slam before the first out was made.
Indians: Following an off-day on Monday, RHP Shane Bieber (10-3, 3.44 ERA) will face RHP Justin Verlander (13-4, 2.86 ERA) as the Houston Astros start a three-game series in Cleveland. Bieber threw his second shutout of the season and his career, blanking the Blue Jays in his last outing.
Royals: RHP Brad Keller (7-9, 3.95 ERA) will face Toronto’s Thomas Pannone (2-4, 6.39 ERA) as the Blue Jays and Royals open a three-game series in Kansas City. Keller is riding a career-best four-game winning streak. He defeated the Atlanta Braves with seven shutout innings in his last outing.