Mr. Comeback: Brantley leads Indians to 3-2 win over Royals

CLEVELAND (AP) Michael Brantley has perfected the comeback season. Now he has to master completing one.

Brantley singled home two runs on the first pitch of his first at-bat this season, and Carlos Carrasco worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning, 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 who has overcome injuries the past two seasons, delivered in the first inning against Danny Duffy (0-2), who managed to hang around until the sixth.

It was an ideal start for the 30-year-old, who means as much to the Indians as any player on their roster.

''He's an easy guy to bet on,'' manager Terry Francona said. ''I could give you pages and pages of why. He's the heart and soul of our team. He does everything the way you're supposed to. If people saw the way he works to get healthy, it would be hard to bet against him or to ever want to bet against him.''

Following devastating, disappointing finishes the past two postseasons, the Indians are hoping this is the year they end a 70-year World Series title drought, baseball's longest. Brantley is a major part of those plans, but he needs to stay healthy after being limited to 101 games the past two seasons.

Brantley has learned one major lesson from his injuries.

''Be patient,'' said Brantley, who hit a walk-off single to win last year's home opener. ''Understand that I'm listening to my body and understand exactly what's going on and how I feel every day and make sure I'm being honest with myself and with this team. I'm feeling good right now. I'll wake up tomorrow and we get to do it again.

''That's all I'm looking forward to, one day at a time, playing as many games as I can.''

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 with one put. Carrasco then struck out Lucas Duda looking and retired Cheslor Cuthbert on a liner.

Nick Goody worked the seventh, Andrew Miller put two on then struck out the side in the eighth, and Cody Allen pitched the ninth for his second save.

Francona joked about Miller's ability to escape self-inflicted jams.

''Like he's his own reliever,'' Francona said. ''Once he has to start attacking, it's like he gets better. That's a good feeling. Not too often you look up and it's first and second, and you're just not too sure they're going to score. A lot of times, that's not a good recipe, but with him you're like, `I think we're going to be OK.'''

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, Brantley dropped his single into right.

''The first inning really hurt us, and I've got to be better than that, man,'' Duffy said. ''Two games in a row, my team has given me a lead and I've let it go. That's a bummer.''

WELCOME BACK

Rajai Davis received a huge ovation from Cleveland's fans during pregame introductions. Davis, who hit a game-tying homer in the eighth inning of Game 7 in the 2016 World Series, re-signed with the club this winter.

Davis doubled in three at-bats.

CHILLING OUT

The Royals have played a league-low five games, thanks to two weather postponements. But manager Ned Yost isn't fretting about their erratic workload. ''You can't do anything to change it, so it's as difficult as you want to make it,'' he said. ''You just try to go with the flow the best you can.''

Saturday's forecast calls for temperatures in the low 30s.

SORRY SOLER

Kansas City right fielder Jorge Soler went hitless in three at-bats, making him 0 for 34 dating back to last season. He did draw a walk off Allen in the ninth.

UP NEXT

Kansas City RHP Ian Kennedy (0-0, 1.50 ERA) takes on Cleveland RHP Trevor Bauer (0-0, 3.60 ERA) in the second game of the series Saturday. Kennedy is winless in his last five starts against the Indians. Bauer pitched five innings in his first start.

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
KC1-4
200000000271
CLE3-4
30000000X340
  • W: C. Carrasco (2-0)L: D. Duffy (0-2)S: C. Allen (2)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
J. Jay LF31200110.333.455.333.7883.5
W. Merrifield 2B31200000.263.333.316.6494.0
M. Moustakas 3B30010123.211.286.368.6541.0
L. Duda DH40110025.214.267.429.6951.0
C. Cuthbert 1B40000016.286.353.357.710-0.5
J. Soler RF30000110.000.200.000.2000.5
A. Gordon CF40100021.167.167.222.3890.0
A. Escobar SS40000002.176.222.353.5750.0
D. Butera C30100001.250.231.333.5641.0
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    F. Lindor SS31000111.172.273.172.4451.5
    J. Kipnis 2B31000102.154.267.192.4592.0
    J. Ramirez 3B31110101.077.226.192.4186.0
    E. Encarnacion DH30000103.174.321.565.8871.0
    M. Brantley LF40120010.250.250.250.5002.5
    B. Guyer RF40100012.214.214.357.5711.5
    Y. Alonso 1B40000003.192.276.462.7370.0
    Y. Gomes C30000004.118.250.294.5440.0
    R. Davis CF30100001.200.273.300.5732.0
      BATTING
      • 2B - W. Merrifield
      • SH - W. Merrifield
      • RBI - M. Moustakas (2), L. Duda (6)
      BATTING
      • 2B - B. Guyer (2), R. Davis
      • RBI - J. Ramirez (3), M. Brantley 2 (2)
      BASERUNNING
      • SB - J. Ramirez
      FIELDING
      • E - C. Cuthbert
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      D. Duffy (L, 0-2)5.23333307.451.552.5
      B. Keller1.11001000.000.601.0
      T. Hill1.00000003.860.003.0
      PITCHERSIP
      D. Duffy (L, 0-2)5.2
      B. Keller1.1
      T. Hill1.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      C. Carrasco (W, 2-0)6.05221405.401.1122.0
      N. Goody (H, 1)1.01000100.000.862.5
      A. Miller (H, 2)1.01001300.002.102.5
      C. Allen (S, 2)1.00001100.000.759.5
      PITCHERSIP
      C. Carrasco (W, 2-0)6.0
      N. Goody (H, 1)1.0
      A. Miller (H, 2)1.0
      C. Allen (S, 2)1.0
      PITCHING
      • WP - D. Duffy
      • IBB - B. Keller
      • Pitches-Strikes - D. Duffy 99-54, B. Keller 18-12, T. Hill 11-8
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - D. Duffy 5-11, B. Keller 3-1, T. Hill 2-1
      • Batters Faced - D. Duffy 25, B. Keller 6, T. Hill 3
      PITCHING
      • IBB - C. Carrasco
      • Pitches-Strikes - C. Carrasco 92-64, N. Goody 14-10, A. Miller 23-14, C. Allen 14-6
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Carrasco 8-5, C. Allen 1-0
      • Batters Faced - C. Carrasco 23, N. Goody 4, A. Miller 5, C. Allen 3
      PLAYERS OF THE GAME
      123456789RHE
      KC1-4
      200000000271
      CLE3-4
      30000000X340
      HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
      J. Jay LF31200110.333.455.333.7883.5
      W. Merrifield 2B31200000.263.333.316.6494.0
      M. Moustakas 3B30010123.211.286.368.6541.0
      L. Duda DH40110025.214.267.429.6951.0
      C. Cuthbert 1B40000016.286.353.357.710-0.5
      J. Soler RF30000110.000.200.000.2000.5
      A. Gordon CF40100021.167.167.222.3890.0
      A. Escobar SS40000002.176.222.353.5750.0
      D. Butera C30100001.250.231.333.5641.0
      Total3127203918-----
        HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
        F. Lindor SS31000111.172.273.172.4451.5
        J. Kipnis 2B31000102.154.267.192.4592.0
        J. Ramirez 3B31110101.077.226.192.4186.0
        E. Encarnacion DH30000103.174.321.565.8871.0
        M. Brantley LF40120010.250.250.250.5002.5
        B. Guyer RF40100012.214.214.357.5711.5
        Y. Alonso 1B40000003.192.276.462.7370.0
        Y. Gomes C30000004.118.250.294.5440.0
        R. Davis CF30100001.200.273.300.5732.0
        Total3034304317-----
          BATTING
          • 2B - W. Merrifield
          • SH - W. Merrifield
          • RBI - M. Moustakas (2), L. Duda (6)
          BATTING
          • 2B - B. Guyer (2), R. Davis
          • RBI - J. Ramirez (3), M. Brantley 2 (2)
          BASERUNNING
          • SB - J. Ramirez
          FIELDING
          • E - C. Cuthbert
          PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
          D. Duffy (L, 0-2)5.23333307.451.552.5
          B. Keller1.11001000.000.601.0
          T. Hill1.00000003.860.003.0
          Total8.0433430---
          PITCHERSIP
          D. Duffy (L, 0-2)5.2
          B. Keller1.1
          T. Hill1.0
          Total8.0
          PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
          C. Carrasco (W, 2-0)6.05221405.401.1122.0
          N. Goody (H, 1)1.01000100.000.862.5
          A. Miller (H, 2)1.01001300.002.102.5
          C. Allen (S, 2)1.00001100.000.759.5
          Total9.0722390---
          PITCHERSIP
          C. Carrasco (W, 2-0)6.0
          N. Goody (H, 1)1.0
          A. Miller (H, 2)1.0
          C. Allen (S, 2)1.0
          Total9.0
          PITCHING
          • WP - D. Duffy
          • IBB - B. Keller
          • Pitches-Strikes - D. Duffy 99-54, B. Keller 18-12, T. Hill 11-8
          • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - D. Duffy 5-11, B. Keller 3-1, T. Hill 2-1
          • Batters Faced - D. Duffy 25, B. Keller 6, T. Hill 3
          PITCHING
          • IBB - C. Carrasco
          • Pitches-Strikes - C. Carrasco 92-64, N. Goody 14-10, A. Miller 23-14, C. Allen 14-6
          • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Carrasco 8-5, C. Allen 1-0
          • Batters Faced - C. Carrasco 23, N. Goody 4, A. Miller 5, C. Allen 3
          • 1ST INNING
            Brantley singled to right, Kipnis and Ramirez scored, Encarnacion to second23
            Ramirez singled to center, Lindor scored, Kipnis to second21
            Duda singled to right, Merrifield scored20
            Moustakas grounded out to second, Jay scored, Merrifield to third10
          • 9TH INNING
            • Cody Allen relieved Andrew Miller
            • J. Soler: Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Soler walked
            • A. Gordon: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Gordon struck out swinging
            • A. Escobar: Foul, Ball, Ball, Escobar grounded into double play shortstop to second to first, Soler out at second
            • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 8TH INNING
            • Andrew Miller relieved Nick Goody
            • J. Jay: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Jay walked
            • W. Merrifield: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Merrifield singled to left, Jay to second
            • M. Moustakas: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Moustakas struck out swinging
            • L. Duda: Strike looking, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Duda struck out swinging
            • C. Cuthbert: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Strike looking, Cuthbert struck out looking
            • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • Tim Hill relieved Brad Keller
            • M. Brantley: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Brantley grounded out to second
            • B. Guyer: Strike looking, Foul, Guyer grounded out to first
            • Y. Alonso: Ball, Foul, Ball, Alonso flied out to center
            • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 7TH INNING
            • Nick Goody relieved Carlos Carrasco
            • J. Soler: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Soler struck out looking
            • A. Gordon: Ball, Strike looking, Gordon singled to right
            • A. Escobar: Foul, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Escobar flied out to left
            • D. Butera: Ball, Butera flied out to deep center
            • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • B. Keller Pitching:
            • R. Davis: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Davis doubled to right
            • F. Lindor: Ball, Foul, Lindor grounded out to second, Davis to third
            • J. Kipnis: Strike looking, Kipnis lined out to third
            • J. Ramirez: Ramirez intentionally walked
            • E. Encarnacion: Ball, Ramirez stole second, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Encarnacion grounded out to third
            • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 6TH INNING
            • C. Carrasco Pitching:
            • D. Butera: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Butera singled to right
            • J. Jay: Ball, Strike swinging, Jay singled to center, Butera to second
            • W. Merrifield: Merrifield hit sacrifice bunt to pitcher, Butera to third, Jay to second
            • M. Moustakas: Moustakas intentionally walked
            • L. Duda: Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Duda struck out looking
            • C. Cuthbert: Ball, Strike (foul tip), Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Cuthbert lined out to left
            • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • D. Duffy Pitching:
            • M. Brantley: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike (foul tip), Brantley grounded out to third
            • B. Guyer: Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Guyer doubled to right
            • Y. Alonso: Alonso popped out to second
            • Brad Keller relieved Danny Duffy
            • Y. Gomes: Strike looking, Strike (foul tip), Gomes flied out to deep right
            • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 5TH INNING
            • C. Carrasco Pitching:
            • J. Soler: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Soler flied out to center
            • A. Gordon: Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Gordon grounded out to second
            • A. Escobar: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Escobar grounded out to shortstop
            • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • D. Duffy Pitching:
            • F. Lindor: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Lindor struck out, reached on wild pitch
            • J. Kipnis: Kipnis flied out to left
            • J. Ramirez: Pickoff attempt, Ball, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Ramirez lined out to left
            • E. Encarnacion: Pickoff attempt, Ball, Strike looking, Encarnacion flied out to left
            • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 4TH INNING
            • C. Carrasco Pitching:
            • M. Moustakas: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Strike looking, Moustakas struck out looking
            • L. Duda: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Duda flied out to left
            • C. Cuthbert: Strike swinging, Cuthbert flied out to right
            • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • D. Duffy Pitching:
            • B. Guyer: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Guyer flied out to right
            • Y. Alonso: Strike looking, Foul, Alonso safe at first on 1st baseman Cuthbert fielding error
            • Y. Gomes: Ball, Strike looking, Gomes flied out to left
            • R. Davis: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Davis flied out to right
            • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 1 Error)
          • 3RD INNING
            • C. Carrasco Pitching:
            • D. Butera: Strike looking, Butera lined out to right
            • J. Jay: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Jay struck out swinging
            • W. Merrifield: Strike looking, Merrifield grounded out to shortstop
            • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • D. Duffy Pitching:
            • J. Ramirez: Strike looking, Ball, Ramirez grounded out to shortstop
            • E. Encarnacion: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Encarnacion flied out to left
            • M. Brantley: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Brantley struck out looking
            • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
          • 2ND INNING
            • C. Carrasco Pitching:
            • J. Soler: Strike looking, Strike looking, Soler grounded out to shortstop
            • A. Gordon: Strike swinging, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Gordon struck out swinging
            • A. Escobar: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Escobar grounded out to shortstop
            • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
            • D. Duffy Pitching:
            • R. Davis: Strike looking, Davis grounded out to shortstop
            • F. Lindor: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Lindor lined out to right
            • J. Kipnis: Ball, Ball, Foul, Kipnis flied out to deep center
            • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
          • 1ST INNING
            • C. Carrasco Pitching:
            • J. Jay: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Jay singled to center
            • W. Merrifield: Ball, Strike swinging, Merrifield doubled to right, Jay to third
            • M. Moustakas: Moustakas grounded out to second, Jay scored, Merrifield to third
            • L. Duda: Strike (foul tip), Strike (foul tip), Ball, Ball, Duda singled to right, Merrifield scored
            • C. Cuthbert: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Ball, Cuthbert grounded into double play shortstop to second to first, Duda out at second
            • Middle of the 1st (2 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
            • D. Duffy Pitching:
            • F. Lindor: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Lindor walked
            • J. Kipnis: Pickoff attempt, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Kipnis walked, Lindor to second
            • J. Ramirez: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ramirez singled to center, Lindor scored, Kipnis to second
            • E. Encarnacion: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Encarnacion walked, Kipnis to third, Ramirez to second
            • M. Brantley: Brantley singled to right, Kipnis and Ramirez scored, Encarnacion to second
            • B. Guyer: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Guyer struck out swinging
            • Y. Alonso: Ball, Strike (foul tip), Foul, Ball, Alonso lined out to center
            • Y. Gomes: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Foul, Gomes grounded out to shortstop
            • End of the 1st (3 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)