July 28, 2014

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Indians find offense, beat Royals to make Sandy Alomar’s managerial debut a big hit

CLEVELAND — If the Indians would have hit like this all season, Manny Acta would probably still have a job.

Offense was at a minimum for much of Acta’s final year, but for interim manager Sandy Alomar’s debut Friday night at Progressive Field, Cleveland broke out the bats and banged its way to an 8-5 victory over the Royals.

The Indians scored all their runs in the first five innings, accumulating 16 hits, with Cord Phelps, Lonnie Chisenhall and Ezequiel Carrera notching three-hit games.

It was Cleveland’s third straight win — the first time the Indians have done that since July 3-5.

“It’s not like we’re trying to do something extra,” said Indians closer Chris Perez, who extended his career-high saves count to 39 with a scoreless ninth inning. “But it’s always better to be 1-0, than 0-1.”

“I was not nervous. I was more anxious to get it going,” Alomar said. “Obviously every day is not going to be this way, but being in the dugout is something I’m comfortable with.”

Players presented Alomar with the game ball from his first win, then showered him with beer in the clubhouse.

Holding one of the cans was left-hander David Huff, who got some friendly advice from Alomar before taking the mound and earning his third win in three starts.

“It’s funny, before the game, he came up to me and said, “This is my first game as manager. Don’t disappoint me,’” said Huff, who allowed three runs on eight hits with five strikeouts over six innings. “I was like, ‘OK, no pressure.’ It was good that we ended up getting a win for him.”

Huff, who has looked better than ever over his last two starts, allowed just a run over the first five innings.

“He’s pounding the zone a lot better than he has in the past,” Perez said. “He’s been impressive. It’s almost like he has a different demeanor.”

“David Huff did a tremendous job attacking the strike zone,” Alomar said.

The Indians went to work early on Kansas City starter Will Smith, scoring three times on five consecutive hits off the left-hander in the second inning. Of those hits, three of them came from the bottom three hitters in the order — Chisenhall, Brent Lillibridge and Carrera.

That trio accounted for half of the Indians’ hit total.

“The bottom of the order did a great job getting on base,” Alomar said.

Chisenhall’s two-out double in the third scored another run, with the Indians adding two more in the fourth and fifth innings to go up 8-1.

Shin-Soo Choo also gave the Indians a lift from the leadoff spot, going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI doubles. Every starter had at least one hit except cleanup hitter Carlos Santana and first baseman Casey Kotchman.

Reliever Scott Maine allowed both of Kansas City’s runs in the eighth, with Joe Smith coming on to stop the rally before turning it over to Perez in the ninth.

Smith was actually a teammate of Alomar’s with the Mets in 2007.

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him
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TONIGHT

• WHO: Cleveland vs. Kansas City
• TIME: 7:05
• WHERE: Progressive Field
• PITCHERS: Gomez (5-8, 5.54 ERA) vs. Odorizzi (0-1, 5.06)
• TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM