Hernández, Mercado lead Indians past Royals 14-6
CLEVELAND (AP) - César Hernández and Óscar Mercado each hit a three-run homer, and the Cleveland Indians beat the struggling Kansas City Royals 14-6 on Saturday night.
Hernández’s 15th homer capped a six-run fourth inning against Mike Minor (6-8). Mercado’s drive highlighted a four-run seventh that put the game away.
Cleveland staggered into the series on a nine-game losing streak, but won the first two games on ninth-inning homers by Franmil Reyes on Thursday and Bobby Bradley on Friday. The Indians have beaten the Royals eight straight times this season.
The Royals have dropped 15 of 18 to fall a season-worst 17 games under .500.
Mercado had three hits and drove in four runs. José Ramírez and Roberto Pérez also homered for Cleveland, which totaled 17 hits.
Cal Quantrill (1-2), one of several pitchers trying to give Cleveland’s injury-riddled rotation a boost, allowed three runs in six innings.
All-Star catcher Salvador Pérez hit a two-run homer in the fourth for Kansas City, but Cleveland finally had success against Minor in the bottom half.
Bradley hit an RBI double and Mercado’s run-scoring single tied the game. Bradley Zimmer’s hard grounder off Minor’s leg went for an RBI single.
Hernandez followed with a drive to left-center, giving Cleveland a 6-2 lead.
Minor had dominated the Indians in his career, going 3-0 and allowing four earned runs in 28 2/3 innings over nine appearances. The left-hander gave up six runs and nine hits in four innings.
Perez warmed up for his matchup in Monday’s All-Star Home Run Derby against Pete Alonso of the New York Mets with his 21st of the season. Alonso won the most recent derby in Cleveland in 2019.
Pérez was replaced behind the plate by Sebastian Rivero in the sixth inning. Kansas City scored three times in the seventh, but Rivero grounded out with two on to end the inning.
Royals reliever Kyle Zimmer struck out his brother, Bradley, in the seventh in the first major league matchup between the two.
Indians manager Terry Francona said right-hander Shane Bieber felt some “crankiness” in his sore shoulder while throwing with weighted balls Friday.
“The hard part right now with it is, is the amount of work they do with their shoulder is obviously intense and a lot,” Francona said. “Then when you take some time off, some of the muscles can get a little cranky. So now you’re starting up again and it’s like OK what’s cranky — so trying to determine that. But then today he came in and he felt like he was gonna have a better day, which is good.”
Bieber, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, has been sidelined since June 14.
WHIT’S A STAR
Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield, who was voted in by the players ballot, will replace Jose Altuve in Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Denver.
“It’s an incredible honor to be voted in by my fellow players,” Merrifield said. “It means the most, frankly. The fan vote is great and we appreciate all the support we get from the fans but nobody knows what this game is like more than the players.”
Royals: 1B Carlos Santana injured his left wrist in the first inning but remained in the game. Third baseman Hunter Dozier’s throw on a bunt hit pulled Santana into the path of Hernández. Santana was checked by a trainer.
Rookie RHP Eli Morgan (1-3) will start the final game before the All-Star break for the Indians. The Royals have yet to announce their starter for Sunday’s matchup.
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