KANSAS CITY, Mo.
Ubaldo Jimenez pitched into the eighth inning, Ryan Raburn hit two home runs and the Cleveland Indians pounded the Kansas City Royals 9-0 on Monday night to split their four-game series.
Raburn hit a three-run shot in the fifth inning and a solo homer in the eighth, and finished the night with four hits. Jason Kipnis also went deep to pace a suddenly potent Indians offense.
Not that all the offense was needed.
Jimenez (1-2) allowed only two walks and an infield single by Billy Butler over his first seven innings. Otherwise, he kept the Royals off balance in a dazzling start that brought back memories of the pitcher who once threw a no-hitter for the Colorado Rockies.
Meanwhile, Wade Davis (2-2) made a second straight miserable start for the Royals. The right-hander allowed eight runs and 12 hits and three walks in just 42/3 innings.
The Royals won the first two games of the series, but were outscored 19-3 over the final two, unable to solve spot starter Corey Kluber on Sunday night and baffled by Jimenez on Monday.
A former All-Star, Jimenez has struggled mightily over the past couple of years, and hadn’t won a game since Aug. 9, 2012. He’d lost all eight of his decisions over 12 starts, and had been especially dreadful of late, allowing 18 earned runs in 11 innings over his past three outings.
The Royals couldn’t solve him, though.
Jimenez faced the minimum number of batters through the first three innings, and would have been flirting with another no-hitter had Butler not hit a grounder to the right of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera with two gone in the fourth. Cabrera was too deep in the hole to throw out Butler at first base, resulting in the Royals’ only hit until the eighth inning.
Kipnis hit his first home run since Sept. 13 with one out in the first, and Michael Brantley’s leadoff double and a base hit by Cabrera in the third gave the Indians a 2-0 lead.
Davis kept minimizing the damage until the fifth, when Brantley’s one-out double again stirred up trouble. Kipnis walked and Cabrera followed with an RBI double. Mark Reynolds added a two-out base hit, and Carlos Santana’s run-scoring double pushed Cleveland’s lead to 5-0 lead.
Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland came out to visit Davis, but it didn’t do much good. Raburn’s three-run shot, his first homer since May 15, 2012, finally chased him from the game.
Mike Moustakas doubled leading off the eighth against Jimenez, and a single by Jeff Francoeur finally ended his night. Reliever Nick Hagadon left both runners stranded by retiring three straight batters, though, preserving Jimenez’s fine performance.