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KC@CLE: Kipnis hits his first career home run

CLEVELAND -- As the non-waiver Trade Deadline passed late Sunday afternoon, reality set in for the Indians.

The current crop of Cleveland hitters will have to turn the team's offensive fortunes, barring an August addition via the waiver wire.

Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Royals, paired with Saturday's ninth-inning rally, may signal that the lineup is primed to emerge from its dormant state.

The Indians acquired right fielder Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs on Thursday, but didn't add another bat before the Deadline.

"You can't be putting all your eggs in that basket," Tribe manager Manny Acta said. "It has to come from here. We've made it clear that these are the guys, the majority of them, who have got us where we're at. We just have to get it going."

In Sunday's loss to the Royals, the Tribe racked up 10 hits -- their most in a game since they tallied 11 in a win against the Twins on July 18. Cleveland hadn't even had eight hits in a contest since July 20.

The next step for the Indians will be converting those base knocks into runs.

"We were able to get some hits today, but didn't execute when we had to," Acta said. "We had a few opportunities where a hit would've been huge for us, but we couldn't get it."

The Indians couldn't solve Royals starter Danny Duffy, who routinely dodged his way out of danger. Duffy (3-4) pitched in place of Kyle Davies, who was scratched with inflammation in his right shoulder.

"I'm pretty much microwavable," Duffy said. "You give me 30 minutes, I'll be ready."

In his first career appearance against the Indians, the southpaw scattered eight hits over five innings, allowing a pair of runs. Duffy escaped damage in the first and third innings -- when he picked off Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Brantley, respectively.

The Indians finally broke through in the fifth, when rookie second baseman Jason Kipnis launched his first Major League home run into the right-field seats. Cabrera and Santana followed with extra-base hits to narrow Kansas City's lead to 3-2.

Kipnis, who will assume everyday second base duties following Saturday's trade of Orlando Cabrera to the Giants, got exactly the pitch he was looking for from Duffy.

"In our scouting report, he's known as being kind of effectively wild and sometimes the fastball will run right over the plate," Kipnis said. "That's kind of what I was hoping for and I got lucky enough to put a good swing on it."

Fausto Carmona (5-11) turned in his third consecutive strong start since making his way back from a strained right quadriceps. In 7 1/3 innings, the right-hander allowed four runs -- two courtesy of solo homers by Jeff Francoeur and Alex Gordon. He induced 11 ground-ball outs with his heavy sinker, and pitched into the eighth inning for the first time since May 24.

"I think for me, the key is to throw one inning, one pitch [at a time]," Carmona said, "and take my time on my delivery with each pitch."

Before suffering the quadriceps injury on July 18, Carmona had scuffled through a two-month stretch in which he posted a 1-7 record and an 8.58 ERA in eight starts. In three outings since, Carmona is 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA. The native of the Dominican Republic attributed his turnaround to being more confident on the mound.

Acta appreciated Carmona's strong effort, but hesitated to heave too much praise on the sometimes inconsistent starter.

"He's throwing well," Acta said. "That's all I'm going to say. I've seen him and I've seen a couple of our guys put together six, seven good ones and then go back. I don't want to swallow my words. ... Hopefully he continues to give us a chance to win every five days."

For Carmona and the rest of the Indians' staff to start earning victories for their efforts, the offense will need to muster up more support. The Indians put two runners on base in the sixth and seventh innings, but failed to cash in on the opportunities. Cleveland stranded 10 runners.

"I guess getting the hits is a step in the right direction," Acta said. "We're just going to have to get them with guys on base." Comments