Brantley leads Indians to 3-2 home-opening win over Royals


CLEVELAND (AP) – Michael Brantley singled home two runs in his first at-bat this season and Carlos Carrasco worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 3-2 win in their chilly home opener over the Kansas City Royals on Friday.
Brantley missed Cleveland’s first six games while on the disabled list recovering from offseason ankle surgery. But just hours after being activated, the two-time All-Star delivered in the first inning against Danny Duffy (0-2), who managed to hang around until the sixth.
Following devastating finishes in the past two postseasons, the Indians are hoping this is the year they end their 70-year World Series title drought, baseball’s longest.
Brantley is a major part of their plans, but he needs to stay healthy after being limited to 101 games the past two seasons due to injuries.
Carrasco (2-0) gave up two runs in the first inning, but settled in. The right-hander retired 13 straight before running into trouble in the sixth, when the Royals loaded the bases on two singles and a one-out intentional walk.
But Carrasco struck out Lucas Duda looking at a 3-2 pitch and retired Cheslor Cuthbert on a liner to left.
Nick Goody worked the seventh, Andrew Miller put on two runners then struck out the side in the eighth, and Cody Allen pitched the ninth for his second save.
The Indians, who didn’t hit while blowing a 2-0 lead to New York in the AL Division Series last October, came in batting a league-low .161. They only got four hits, but that was enough thanks to Carrasco and their top-flight bullpen.
The Royals dropped to 3-16 in Cleveland since May 8, 2016.
Down 2-0 in the first, the Indians benefited from Duffy’s early wildness to score three times.
The left-hander, possibly bothered by the bitter, blustery weather conditions, walked Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis before Jose Ramirez dribbled an RBI single through the middle.
After Duffy’s third walk of the inning, this one to slugger Edwin Encarnacion, Brantley dropped a two-run single into right, a satisfying moment for the 30-year-old who has spent the past two seasons battling back from shoulder and ankle injuries.
The Royals scored twice in the first on an RBI groundout by Mike Moustakas and Duda’s broken-bat RBI single, which came after he inadvertently flung another bat into the netting behind home plate.
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