Major League Baseball

Opportunistic Indians eye sweep of Royals

ROYALS (45-85) AT INDIANS (76-54)
1:10 p.m. ET; ST-OH, FSKC, MLB.TV

The Cleveland Indians have made the most of one big inning on back-to-back nights to win the first two contests of their three-game series against the Kansas City Royals.

The Indians will look for a more complete effort on Sunday afternoon as they bid for a series sweep of their American League Central rival in Cleveland.

Franmil Reyes belted a three-run homer as part of a four-run third inning in Saturday’s 4-2 victory for the Indians, who have won 11 of their last 13 meetings against the Royals and 12 of 18 encounters this season. That came after a 4-1 win on Friday courtesy of a four-run second inning.

“I was working a lot of things,” Reyes told reporters after Saturday’s win. “Those things I was working on translated to the game and things are going well.”

Unfortunately for the Indians, not all was well on Saturday.

Two-time All-Star Jose Ramirez exited with a right wrist injury, prompting the club to usher utilityman Mike Freeman into the game and pull infielder Yu Chang from his contest with Triple-A Columbus.

“We took (Ramirez) over to get imaged, and we want everybody to see (the results), just to make sure that we get the proper read on it,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “We don’t know a ton yet.”

Indians right-hander Shane Bieber (12-6, 3.26 ERA) will get the nod in a bid to snap a two-start losing skid.

Bieber surrendered two earned runs for the fifth consecutive contest and four runs total over six innings in a 9-2 setback Tuesday at the New York Mets.

The 24-year-old improved to 3-0 with a 6.04 ERA in four career starts against Kansas City by posting a 1-0 mark in two starts versus the Royals this season. Bieber picked up the win in his last encounter with the club despite allowing five runs and four walks in 5 2/3 innings of the Indians’ 10-5 victory on July 19.

Whit Merrifield, who is 4-for-12 with two doubles and a homer against Bieber, has hit safely in six straight games overall and 12 consecutive road contests.

Kansas City left-hander Eric Skoglund will make his first start of the season after being called up from Triple-A Omaha on Friday.

Skoglund posted a 3-5 record with a 6.04 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in 13 starts in the minors this season. The 26-year-old briefly was called up to the Royals for bullpen depth on Aug. 9 before being optioned to the Storm Chasers two days later.

“Let’s do it. I’m ready man,” Skoglund said, per the Kansas City Star. “I’m ready to grind. I’m ready to help this team win any way I can. So it’s been a long time coming for me. The way I ended the year last year was on a high note. I just continue to build off that.”

Skoglund is making his first start in the majors since being suspended for the first 80 games of the season for a violation of the MLB drug policy. He owns an 0-3 mark with a bloated 12.96 ERA and 2.40 WHIP in three career meetings with the Indians.

–Field Level Media

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