By BRIAN DULIK Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — Austin Hedges hit a three-run homer and rookie Oscar Gonzalez doubled in two runs, sending the Cleveland Guardians to an 8-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
Hedges’ third-inning drive, which barely cleared the 19-foot wall in left, scored Ernie Clement and Oscar Mercado to extend Cleveland’s lead to 6-2. The Guardians put 11 men on base in the first three frames against Daniel Lynch (2-4).
Gonzalez, who is 9 for 21 through five games in the majors, tacked on a two-run double in the sixth off Dylan Coleman. Cleveland has won three of four, including the first two in its three-game set with AL-worst Kansas City.
“It’s not all that often when a young kid comes up and gives you a huge boost, but Oscar has really given us a lift and some energy,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said.
Cal Quantrill (2-3) worked 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs, to remain unbeaten in his career at Progressive Field and against the Royals. The right-hander struck out five without a walk in improving to 6-0 in Cleveland and 5-0 all-time against Kansas City.
Hedges is hitting just .155 on the season, but three of his four homers have occurred in games when he catches Quantrill.
“Hedges is starting to hit home runs when I pitch, and I’m totally fine with that,” Quantrill said while chuckling.
Guardians third baseman José Ramírez, who leads the majors with 51 RBIs, was intentionally walked in his first two plate appearances and finished 1 for 2 with a stolen base. They were the first two intentional passes by a Cleveland player in 2022.
Lynch was lifted in the fourth after Andrés Giménez led off with a single. The left-hander gave up six runs, three in the first, in dropping his third straight decision for the 16-32 Royals.
“Right now, we’re having trouble putting it all together,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. “All the guys are tired of walking out of here, feeling the way they’re feeling now.”
The Royals got on the board in the second when Kyle Isbel’s seeing-eye single drove in Hunter Dozier, then pulled within 3-2 in the third on Andrew Benintendi’s single to left. Benintendi was later thrown out at the plate by right fielder Gonzalez.
“The throw wasn’t on the money accurate, but it was a laser beam and, obviously, it was a big situation,” Hedges said. “He just needed to get it there on time and let me take care of the rest.”
Bobby Witt Jr. and Dozier were both hit by pitches from Quantrill near their left wrist, but remained in the game. Kansas City is 2-6 on a nine-game, 10-day trip that wraps up Wednesday in Cleveland.
Royals reliever Jose Cuas, who began last season with Long Island in the independent Atlantic League, made his big league debut by retiring all three batters he faced.
“It was everything you dream about as a kid,” Cuas said. “When I got through the first pitch, I was able to breathe and relax. It was fun.”
Ramírez was selected the AL Player of the Week for the second time this year after batting .348 with 11 RBIs in six games. The three-time All-Star has driven in 51 runs on the season, the third most in franchise history before the end of May. Cleveland’s record is 63 by Manny Ramirez in 1999.
“Manny and Josey are so different, but when you’re talking about Josey in those comparisons, that’s a pretty big compliment, probably to both guys,” Francona said.
Royals: C Cam Gallagher (left hamstring strain), who has been on the 10-day injured list since May 2, joined Triple-A Omaha on a rehab assignment. Gallagher has missed 28 games. “He’s got a little ways to go,” manager Mike Matheny said. “Cam has to get behind the plate.”
Guardians: RHP Aaron Civale (left gluteal soreness) underwent a procedure to aspirate blood from the affected area. Civale was hurt on May 20 when he fell twice while mishandling a grounder against Detroit. “Hopefully, that will speed things up for him,” Francona said.
Royals: RHP Brad Keller (1-5, 3.95 ERA) seeks his first road victory since Aug. 20, 2021, against the Cubs. Keller is 0-3 with a 6.33 ERA in four starts away from Kansas City this season.
Guardians: LHP Konnor Pilkington (0-0, 3.75 ERA) makes his sixth appearance in the majors since debuting on April 15. Pilkington has allowed five runs in seven innings over two starts, both in May.
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