HEADLINE

Royals, Indians ride win streaks into series

Field Level Media

July 19, 2019 at 5:27 am.

The Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals continued their strong post-All-Star break surges with respective four-game sweeps over fellow American League Central adversaries.

The Indians and Royals aim to continue their runs of good fortune at the other’s expense on Friday when they open a three-game series in Cleveland.

Cleveland brought out the brooms on Thursday and recorded its fifth straight win and 11th in 13 contests with a 6-3 victory over Detroit. The win moved the Indians a season-best 15 games over .500.

Jose Ramirez belted a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning and drove in three runs. The 26-year-old enters the series opener against Kansas City with a 10-game hitting streak, during which he is 15-for-41 with four homers, 12 RBIs and 10 runs scored.

“Even if Jose is being the hottest one right now with home runs, we’re still putting up a good amount of runs,” second baseman Jason Kipnis said. “It’s not all him. It’s coming from (Nos.) one through nine in the order. Guys are having good at-bats.

“It may not be pretty. It may not be what you want all the time. But we’re doing whatever we can to get on base and get guys in.”

Cleveland avenged a sweep at the hands of Kansas City in April by winning two of three from the Royals in late June and posting a sweep on July 2-4.

Like the Indians, Kansas City completed a four-game sweep on Thursday with a 6-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox. The win was the Royals’ sixth in seven games since the All-Star break.

“We’re playing really good ball right now,” Kansas City right-hander Brad Keller said. “The offense is alive and killing it right now. The starters and relievers are doing their job. The break helped us, I think.”

The Royals are hitting .330 as a team and scored 49 runs in seven games since the All-Star break.

“The vibes in the clubhouse got a lot better,” Kansas City reliever Tim Hill said. “It’s definitely a different energy, and it’s good.”

Whit Merrifield, who saw his 15-game hitting streak halted on Thursday, will look to get back on track against Cleveland right-hander Shane Bieber (8-3, 3.49 ERA).

Bieber returned from capturing Most Valuable Player honors in the All-Star Game with a no-decision versus Minnesota on Sunday.

The 24-year-old also received a no-decision against Kansas City on June 25 despite permitting two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Bieber owns a 2-0 mark with a 5.40 ERA in three career starts versus the Royals, although Lucas Duda (3-for-7, two homers) and Merrifield (3-for-9, home run) have gotten their licks in on the hurler.

Left-hander Mike Montgomery (1-2, 5.67 ERA) will make his debut with Kansas City after being acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Monday.

Montgomery last pitched on July 2, allowing one run on two hits in 3 1/3 innings in a no-decision against Pittsburgh.

Francisco Lindor is 2-for-5 with a double in his career against the 30-year-old Montgomery, who has yet to record a decision with a 6.75 ERA in five career appearances against Cleveland.