CLEVELAND — The Sandy Alomar Jr. interim era has opened with gusto.
With Alomar Jr. guiding the ship after taking over for a fired Manny Acta, the Indians wrapped up the series against Kansas City with a lopsided 15-3 decision Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field.
Cleveland has scored 29 runs since Alomar took over for the series opener against KC, winning two of three games under his direction.
The series finale put the emphasis on a successful start for Alomar Jr., with the Indians reaching season highs in runs and hits (19).
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“It’s always good to win games, especially when you give young guys the opportunity to play and they perform,” Alomar Jr. said. “It’s something you can build confidence from. I think it’s very important to finish on a great note.”
Cleveland’s offensive firepower came with a number of regulars on the bench — Travis Hafner, Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley — and much of it arrived in one big fifth inning.
Owning just a 1-0 lead through four innings against Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar, the Indians erupted for 10 runs in the fifth to put the game out of reach.
Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, whose playing time has been limited over the final month of the season, capped the outburst with his second career grand slam, giving the Indians their first 10-run inning since May 16 of last year at Kansas City.
Cleveland’s last 10-run inning at home also came against the Royals in August of 2006.
Cabrera has been plagued by nagging wrist and back injuries as of late, but he joined six Indians with multihit games, going 3-for-5 and scoring three times. Third baseman Jack Hannahan and catcher Lou Marson also had three hits for Cleveland.
“I feel better,” said Cabrera, who lifted his season average to .274 with 16 home runs and 68 RBIs in 141 games. “I’m still sore, but there’s only three more games left.”
The mega-support was welcomed but not required for Cleveland starter Zach McAllister.
McAllister, who has been scuffling as of late, offered up one of his better outings of the season in his final start, allowing three runs on five hits over 6⅔ innings to earn his first win since Aug. 11.
McAllister didn’t allow a run and just one hit over the first five innings before Billy Butler ended the shutout bid with a two-run homer in the sixth.
“I definitely feel good about the way I pitched today,” McAllister said. “I wanted to be aggressive. I wanted to get soft contact. For the most part I was able to accomplish what I wanted to.
“I’m definitely happy I was able to finish on a good note.”
The Indians will do their best to duplicate McAllister’s feat when they welcome the White Sox for a season-ending series that begins tonight. They go in having won consecutive series for the first time since June 28-July 4.