CLEVELAND (AP) – The team meeting was supposed to clear the air and change things.
A day later, the Indians looked like the same lost team.
Eric Hosmer connected for a three-run homer off rookie Cody Anderson in the first inning and Cleveland was roughed up 9-4 on Monday night by the Kansas City Royals, who handed the spiraling Indians their fifth straight loss.
After being swept in a four-game weekend series by the White Sox and falling into last place in the AL Central, Indians manager Terry Francona held a lengthy closed-door meeting Sunday during which players aired their frustrations about a season slipping away. While it was viewed as a positive by the Indians, who felt their energy was better in the series opener, the results were painfully familiar.
“We got outplayed. That’s going to happen,” Francona said after the Royals racked up their 60th win. “We’ve got to show up every day and continue to try to get better in every area of the game, myself included. When you do that, it doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth. You feel like, ‘OK, we’ll come back tomorrow and we’ll play again.’ There’s nothing that I want to be more than to be able to be proud of these guys and brag on them.
“And probably more importantly, want them to be proud of themselves. Sometimes that takes work. In fact, all the time, it takes work.
Edinson Volquez (10-5) worked into the seventh inning for Kansas City, which will welcome newly acquired ace Johnny Cueto on Tuesday. Luckily for the Indians, the right-hander won’t make his debut with Kansas City until Friday.
Rookie Francisco Lindor hit a three-run homer and Carlos Santana had a solo shot for the Indians, who have lost seven in a row at home, and haven’t had the lead while being outscored 35-9 during this current seven-game homestand.
“It’s tough,” Lindor said. “It’s hard, but we’re going to bounce back. We’re going to bounce back. We’re a good team to work through it. It’s just right now we’re not playing the baseball we know how to play. We’re not moving runners. We’re not driving runners in when there’s people on third base and no outs, or one out. We’re not doing those little things.”
Riding the momentum of their deal for Cueto, the Royals wasted no time getting to Anderson, who was coming off his shortest outing this season.
Mike Moustakas singled with one out in the first, Lorenzo Cain walked and Hosmer, who is batting .390 (16 of 41) with four homers and 17 RBIs against Cleveland this season, followed with a 421-foot homer to left-center to make it 3-0 – hardly the start the Indians wanted after their embarrassing weekend.
“I just didn’t do my job, I let the team down,” Anderson said.
Kansas City made it 4-0 in the second when Omar Infante connected for his first homer in 336 at-bats this season.
Anderson responded by hitting Jarrod Dyson in the leg with his next pitch, prompting plate umpire Lance Barksdale to issue a warning to both dugouts. Several Royals players standing on the step hollered in Anderson’s direction.
Anderson (2-2) didn’t think he deserved the warning.
“Just trying to go inside on a fastball early in the count,” he said. “They’re out there swinging, so I’m just trying to throw them off inside, just locate a fastball in there and it hit them. That’s part of the game.”
Santana got a run back in the second with his 11th homer, a 433-foot blast to center that cleared a row of shrubs.
But the Royals added three runs in the fifth on Hosmer’s RBI single and a two-run double by Morales, who has 11 RBIs against Cleveland in 2015.
The Indians have been outscored 68-36 in the first inning.
Cleveland’s seven-game slide at home is its longest since May 24-June 6, 2011.
Indians: DH/RF Nick Swisher played right field and went 0 for 3 for Double-A Akron as he nears a return after being sidelined with knee inflammation. He will be re-evaluated Tuesday.
Royals: RHP Chris Young lasted just three innings in a start last week in a makeup game at St. Louis. Young has held opponents to a .187 average on the road, second-best in the AL. He’s 2-1 with a 3.71 ERA in four career starts against Cleveland.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer tries to correct his confounding problems at Progressive Field. He’s just 3-4 with a 6.16 ERA at home, compared to 5-3 with a 2.47 ERA on the road.