Ramírez homers twice, Bieber strikes out 12 in Indians' win over Royals
CLEVELAND (AP) — José Ramírez's second two-run homer of the game snapped a tie in the eighth inning and sent the Cleveland Indians to a 4-2 win over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday after Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber struck out 12.
Ramírez's one-out shot to right off Greg Holland (0-1) gave the Indians their first home win in 2021 after they were shut out 3-0 on Monday.
Earlier, Ramirez connected for a two-run homer in the sixth to bring in Cleveland's first runs at Progressive Field this season.
Emmanuel Clase (1-0) pitched the eighth — all nine of his fastballs were over 100 mph — and Nick Wittgren worked the ninth for his first save since Sept. 4, 2019.
Salvador Pérez homered for the Royals.
Bieber had his second strong start of the season, fanning 12 in 6 1/3 innings. But the right-hander remains winless as the Indians continue to struggle at the plate through the season's first week.
Ramírez's shot in the sixth off Jesse Hahn brought home César Hernández, giving the Indians a 3-2 lead and stopping their home scoreless streak at 14 2/3 innings.
It gave Bieber his first lead this season, but it didn't last long as the Royals tied it on Nicky Lopez's RBI single off reliever James Karinchak in the seventh.
Bieber allowed just one run three hits in 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander extended his streak of striking out at least eight to 14 games, tying Corey Kluber’s club record.
Hall of Famer Randy Johnson holds the major league mark with 17 in a row.
The Indians only got three hits Monday, and they didn't get a runner to second through the first five innings against Kansas City starter Jakob Junis, who was only slated to pitch a few innings in what was supposed to be a bullpen game.
It was 73 degrees and sunny when Bieber threw his first pitch, a 41-degree jump from opening day last week in Detroit, where he pitched in swirling snow over the first few innings.
Perez ripped Bieber's first pitch of the fourth into the trees beyond the center-field wall to put the Royals ahead 1-0.
SHOT IN THE PARK
With an early-season off day, half of Cleveland's roster received COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday. Manager Terry Francona said the Cleveland Clinic administered the shots at Progressive Field.
Francona understands there may be players who don't want to get vaccinated — for a variety of reasons.
“That’s everybody’s personal choice,” he said. “You can’t make somebody do that. That wouldn’t be right. I hope we get to a certain amount though, where we are able as a team to relax some of the restrictions. That would be helpful.”
Kansas City's Carlos Santana received a warm ovation before his first at-bat in Monday's opener as Cleveland fans thanked the popular first baseman for 10 seasons with the club.
He appreciated the gesture.
“Respect,” Santana said when asked about the cheers. “Respect the fans, respect the team. Respect the city. Respect the organization that gave me the opportunity for 10 years.”
DAY AFTER DAY
The Royals are opening the season with eight straight day games, the club's longest run of afternoon baseball since 1979. Kansas City is scheduled to play 62 days games in 2021, which would match the 1971 Royals for the most in team history.
Royals: Begin a three-game series in Chicago on Thursday with RHP Brad Keller going against RHP Lance Lynn. Keller lasted just 1 1/3 innings in his opening-day start.
Indians: After another off day, Cleveland opens a three-game series against Detroit. Zach Plesac (0-1) will face RHP Julio Teheran (1-0), who beat the Indians last weekend.