Merritt Collects Win as Indians Top Royals 4-0 to Extend AL Central Lead; Three Takeaways From the Win

Mike Coutee

CLEVELAND - Ryan Merritt had his best start of his career against a team that can hit.

Seemingly, the Royals could not hit against Merritt tonight.

A day after splitting a four game series against the Boston Red Sox, the Cleveland welcomed the Kansas City Royals for a three-game weekend series which was also important for the Tribe.

The bats were alive again today, scoring runs in the third and the fifth inning. And in Friday's results, the Indians improved to 71-56 thanks to their 4-0 win on a night where players got their chance to celebrate MLB Players weekend.

Here are the three takeaways from tonight's win.

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3. Ryan Merritt's strong outing

Indians starter Ryan Merritt pitched his career high of going 6.2 innings, seven hits, no runs, and striking out three.

Friday marked his second career start against the Kansas City Royals which he is now 2-0 against the divisional rival. Also the win was his first career start at Progressive Field.

Merritt was able to get out of some jams in early in the game where in the third inning he gave up a double to Alex Gordon.

However the next three hitters, he was able to keep the ball down in the strike zone where they all grounded out to end the inning.

He induced 11 ground outs and one fly ball for outs.

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2. Attacking Jason Vargas

The Tribe did some little extra scouting on Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas who have not had success against the lefty this season.

Before coming in Friday's game, the left-hander as 2-1 in four starts. However, this night was just a little bit different as the Tribe offense attacked four runs on Vargas.

Starting in the third inning, "Gio" (Giovanny Urshela) hit a RBI double to left which scored "Gommer" {Yan Gomes} from first.

Then, the Indians made it a 2-0 game when "AJax" {Austin Jackson} singled to right for a RBI.

In Vargas last inning, "Mr. Smile" {Francisco Lindor) launched a two-run homer to left which ended the left hander's night.

Lindor is now two homers away from tying Asdrubal Cabrera's single-season franchise record (25) which took place back in the 2011 season.

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1. Nice to see you

With tonight's game being a sellout for the eighth time this year, the fans were right behind the team all night.

Seemingly the same thing will happen for the rest of the weekend. Saturday's game has been sold out and Sunday's finale is close being sold out.

The same two team will be on Fox Sports One with first pitch at 7:15 as they will continue their MLB Players weekend series.

Mike Clevinger will take the bump for the Tribe as he will face off against Jason Hammel.

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