CLEVELAND (AP) – Francisco Lindor homered after originally being scheduled to get the day off, José Ramírez hit a tiebreaking home run in the sixth and the Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4 on Sunday.
Lindor talked his way into the lineup at designated hitter after manager Terry Francona planned on resting the All-Star shortstop. His two-run homer in the third tied the game at 2-all.
Ramírez’s leadoff homer put Cleveland ahead in the sixth and the Indians went on to their seventh win in eight games. Cleveland has also won 13 of 16.
Rookie Zach Plesac (4-3) allowed two runs in six innings. The right-hander gave up a run in the first and allowed Jorge Soler’s solo homer in the third.
Brad Hand allowed Bubba Starling’s first major league home run in the ninth, but struck out the next three hitters for his 27th save in 28 opportunities.
Glenn Sparkman (4-5) allowed both homers and gave up five runs – four earned – in 5 2/3 innings.
Soler hit his 27 home run in the third and took a homer away from Jason Kipnis the following inning. Soler leaped at the wall in right field to catch Kipnis’ towering drive.
Sparkman threw his hands in the air as he looked toward right field. Soler tipped his cap to the pitcher.
Cheslor Cuthbert’s RBI double put Kansas City ahead in the first. Plesac retired the first two hitters, but walked Hunter Dozier and Soler. Cuthbert double over third base, scoring Dozier.
Soler’s homer made it 2-0 before Kevin Plawecki reached on shortstop Humberto Arteaga’s throwing error. Lindor golfed a low pitch to right for his 16th home run.
Ramírez, who has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games, homered to right on an 0-2 pitch, his 10th of the season.
Plawecki and rookie Oscar Mercado also had RBIs for the Indians.
Kansas City is 7-3 since the All-Star break and snapped Cleveland’s six-game winning streak with a 1-0 victory on Saturday.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber (broken arm) threw 30 pitches off the mound, his second bullpen since being struck by a line drive May 1. He’ll accompany the team on its road trip to Toronto and throw his next bullpen session Wednesday.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (4-5, 4.52 ERA) on Tuesday in Atlanta will look to build off a positive last outing. He threw six innings in which he allowed just two earned runs while walking none.
Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger (3-2, 3.57 ERA) will pitch the opener of a four-game series in Toronto on Monday. He’s struck out 27 batters in 17 innings in July.