By STEVE HERRICK, Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes beat everyone with one big swing. The wind, the record-cold temperatures and Kansas City.
Gomes hit a tiebreaking two-run homer off Brandon Maurer in the ninth inning, lifting the Indians to a 3-1 win over the Royals in the coldest game in Progressive Field history.
Gomes drove a 3-2 pitch barely over the 19-foot wall in left field, ending another tough day for Cleveland’s offense on a high note. Gomes was mobbed by his teammates at home plate after just the fourth hit of the afternoon for the Indians.
The game-time temperature was 32 degrees, the lowest in the 25-year history of the ballpark, and Gomes wasn’t sure if his drive was going to clear the wall as left fielder Jon Jay drifted back.
“I knew I got it, but I kept looking up and I was like, ‘Oh no, is the wind going to kill it?'” Gomes said. “It just got over.”
Gomes also starred on defense in the cold conditions. He threw out Jorge Soler trying to steal second in the fourth and picked Mike Moustakas off first in the sixth.
“You have to figure out a way to stay warm,” he said. “At the end of the day, the weather’s not going to change.”
Maurer (0-2) walked Yonder Alonso with one out before Gomes connected for his second homer. Cody Allen (1-0) worked the ninth for the win.
Jay’s run-scoring triple put Kansas City in front in the fifth, but the Indians pushed across an unearned run in the eighth without registering a hit.
Bradley Zimmer led off with a walk and swiped second. He advanced to third on Francisco Lindor’s sacrifice.
Zimmer stayed at third when Jason Kipnis reached on a throwing error by reliever Justin Grimm. But Jose Ramirez followed with a check-swing dribbler, bringing home Zimmer with the tying run. Ramirez was originally ruled safe on Grimm’s wide throw to first, but the call was overturned after a review.
“That fastball probably would’ve hit him in the left shoulder if he didn’t swing on it,” Grimm said. “I made my pitch, and he couldn’t have bunted it better. It stinks.”
Indians manager Terry Francona felt his team was fortunate to be in position to win the game.
“I was glad we were still playing,” he said. “In the eighth we had 75 feet of grounders and we tied it.”
Cleveland hadn’t scored since the first inning of Friday’s 3-2 win. Lucas Duda’s seventh-inning homer gave Kansas City a 1-0 victory on Saturday.
Cleveland’s Mike Clevinger allowed one run in 7 1/3 innings while Kansas City starter Jason Hammel pitched six innings of three-hit ball.
Zimmer denied the Royals a run in the third when he threw Jay out at home on Moustakas’ single. Jay drew a two-out walk and took second on Whit Merrifield’s single.
Soler snapped a 0-for-34 skid dating to last season with three hits.
Zimmer slammed into the wall in center trying to catch Jay’s triple, but stayed in the game.
ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Hammel thought the Royals, who have played a major league-low seven games thanks to two postponements, squandered a chance for a victory.
“This is a game we need to have right now,” he said. “This is a game we need to win, especially with the way they’re not swinging the bats.”
KEEP IT MOVING
Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer, who surrendered Duda’s homer Saturday, said he didn’t have enough time to warm up before the inning. In an attempt to speed up play this season, Major League Baseball has cut the time between innings from 2 minutes, 25 seconds to 2:05.
Bauer criticized Commissioner Rob Manfred’s decision, but Francona said the pitchers need to adjust.
“If a pitcher wants to throw more, they’ve got to get out there,” Francona said. “The umpire’s responsibility is to start this game at a certain point and we kind of explained that to our guys.”
Royals: Duda (right hamstring tightness) served as the designated hitter for the third straight game.
Indians: RF Lonnie Chisenhall (strained right calf) is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks. The injury is similar to the one that caused him to miss nearly two months last season. OF Tyler Naquin was recalled from Triple-A Columbus.
Royals: RHP Jakob Junis (1-0, 0.00 ERA) takes on Seattle on Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber (0-1, 2.40 ERA), the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, faces the Tigers as Cleveland continues its 10-game homestand.
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