- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Ian Kennedy served up four home runs while striking out eight batters, all in less than five innings, which led the Royals pitcher to sum up his performance quite succinctly.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever pitched that bad,” he said, “and got that many strikeouts.”

The strikeout total was just about the only highlight in Kansas City’s 11-4 loss to AL Central-leading Cleveland on Wednesday. Tyler Naquin hit two of the Indians’ five home runs while driving in a career-best six runs, and Carlos Carrasco tossed six shutout innings in a dominant performance.

“It was kind of a weird game,” Kennedy said. “When I was falling behind guys, they made me pay for it. But every time I got ahead, I got outs. It was kind of weird.”

Carrasco (7-3) only allowed one hit, a one-out double by Cheslor Cuthbert in the fourth he followed with back-to-back strikeouts. He walked two in the sixth for his only other baserunners.

Mike Napoli, Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana had the Indians’ other home runs.

Kansas City scored all its runs off reliever Austin Adams in the eighth.

“It’s not the way we planned the series to go,” said the Royals’ Eric Hosmer. “We’ve got to find some way to get hot and turn things around. We’re just not getting it done right now.”

The division-leading Indians, who are 4-5 against the hapless Minnesota Twins this season, improved to 26-8 against the rest of the AL Central. They are 8-5 against the Royals.

“The Royals are really hard to play here,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We did a really good job here (two win two of three).”

For the second day in a row, a first-inning homer - this time by Kipnis, his 16th - gave them instant offense. Naquin added a solo shot in the third before adding a two-run double in the fourth.

Cleveland put away the game with a seven-run fifth inning.

With a heat index of 105 degrees at first pitch, Carrasco coolly sliced up a Kansas City offense that scored seven runs in a single inning in the opener. The right-hander retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced around his lone single, and he struck out six while throwing just 84 pitches.

He won for the fifth time in six outings and improved to 6-1 in eight starts in Kansas City.

Kennedy wound up allowing seven runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings for the Royals. It was a rare poor start for him at Kauffman Stadium; he entered the game with an AL-best 2.11 ERA at home.

Then again, it was also his ninth straight game serving up at least one homer, and he’s now allowed 26 of them this season, tied with teammate Chris Young for most in the majors.

“I guess any time you give up a home run, you try to justify it a little bit,” Kennedy said. “The ball was flying a little bit, but they’re homers. The curveball to Naquin - that’s a second time I’ve given up a home run to a left-hander to left field. You don’t see that very often.”

PRESIDENTIAL VISIT

The Royals will meet President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday during a ceremony to honor their World Series title. It will be the fifth president that manager Ned Yost has met: Jimmy Carter and George Bush used to come to Braves games when Yost coached in Atlanta, George W. Bush threw out the first pitch on opening day once, and Bill Clinton greeted the champion Braves at the White House in 1996. “So this will be my fifth president,” Yost said, “which is kind of cool.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: LF Alex Gordon got the day off as he continues to battle out of a season-long slump. He’s hitting just .200 through 62 games after signing a $72 million, four-year deal in the offseason. He missed several weeks with a fractured wrist in a collision with 3B Mike Moustakas.

Indians: OF Michael Brantley was expected to have an MRI exam on his ailing right shoulder Wednesday, though the results were not yet available. Brantley experienced a setback while on a rehab assignment.

UP NEXT

The Royals open a three-game set Friday night against Texas. The Indians also have a day off before visiting Baltimore on Friday night.

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