KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — José Ramírez hit his first home run in nearly a month, rookie Nolan Jones connected for an impressive first homer of his career and the Cleveland Guardians stopped a five-game skid, roughing up the Kansas City Royals 13-1 Saturday.
The Guardians totaled a season-high 23 hits and led 11-0 after four innings. Amed Rosario homered off Royals center fielder Michael Taylor in a two-run ninth.
“It was good for our guys to breathe a little bit,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “I was happy for them because it’s been a rough go and it doesn’t guarantee anything tomorrow but good for them because it should help.”
Triston McKenzie (6-6) tossed six scoreless innings of three-hit ball with four strikeouts and five walks.
Ramírez had an RBI single in the first and hit a two-run drive in the second — it was his 17th homer of the season but first since June 10 as he’s been dealing with an ailing thumb ligament. He leads the AL with 66 RBIs.
A day after getting two hits in his big league debut, Jones launched a 457-foot, three-run drive with a 109.2 mph exit velocity into the Kauffman Stadium fountains to cap a five-run fourth inning.
The 24-year-old outfielder had two hits and walked twice.
“It is cool to see what he is doing now,” fellow rookie Steven Kwan said. “Me and Nolan are really close, we played in High-A ball together. It has been really cool seeing how he has been doing it.”
Kwan and Andrés Giménez each drove in two runs and Franmil Reyes had an RBI for the fifth straight game, the longest stretch of his career.
Cleveland topped the 22 hits it had against the Royals on April 10.
“I think today is just a big confidence booster for everybody,” Kwan said. “We have been barreling balls and they haven’t been finding the holes. Today we are hitting the ball hard and hitting is contagious so hopefully, we keep it going.”
Jonathan Heasley (1-5) gave up six runs and six hits in a career-low 1 1/3 innings.
“I think it was just one of those days, kind of a dead arm day,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “He just couldn’t find the feel and chalk it up as one of those days moving forward. He just didn’t have a good feel coming out of his hand.”
Taylor made his first career pitching appearance and allowed two runs on five hits and two walks in two innings. He also struck out Reyes and Óscar Mercado.
Andrew Benintendi extended his AL-best on-base streak to 18 games with a walk in the first. Nicky Lopez drove in the Royals’ run with a grounder.
Royals: Matheny said RHP Josh Staumont (neck strain) is set to begin a rehab assignment in Triple-A Omaha on Sunday. Staumont was sent to the 15-day injured list on June 26.
Zach Plesac (2-6, 3.80 ERA) will take the mound for Cleveland in the series finale. Zack Greinke (2-5, 4.85 ERA) will counter for Kansas City.
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