KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Jason Vargas tossed six sharp innings, the Kansas City offense finally woke up against AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and the Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 4-2 on Wednesday night.
Mike Moustakas drove in a run in the first inning, and Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales hit consecutive RBI doubles off Kluber (3-6) in the third to give the Royals the lead.
Vargas (4-2) made it stand up in his second start back from the disabled list. The left-hander used a pair of double plays to wiggle out of jams, and limited the streaking Indians to two runs on eight hits while striking out three without a walk.
Greg Holland pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save.
The Indians, who had won three straight, pulled ahead 2-1 when Brandon Moss doubled home a run in the second inning and Mike Aviles added an RBI single in the third.
That’s when Kansas City’s bats suddenly caught fire. The same bunch of hitters who managed just three runs or fewer in seven of their last eight games put up that many in one inning.
Alcides Escobar started things off in the bottom of the third with a single, and Moustakas added another single. Then, the trio of doubles pushed Kansas City into the lead, earning Kluber a visit from Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway.
Kluber walked Alex Gordon before finally escaping the inning, but the damage was done. The sudden onslaught came after Kluber had surrendered five runs total in his last four starts.
Kluber wound up allowing nine hits over eight innings. He struck out nine, giving him 105 Ks on the season – the quickest Indians pitcher to eclipse 100 since Sam McDowell in 1970.
Vargas didn’t have the same kind of overpowering stuff, but the veteran pitched to contact and allowed one of the game’s best defenses to help him out.
After allowing three hits to his first four batters in the third, Vargas got Ryan Raburn to ground into an inning-ending double play. Then in the fifth, Vargas pitched around a rare error by center fielder Lorenzo Cain by getting Mike Aviles to ground into a double play.
Ryan Madson also wiggled out of trouble in the seventh before the rest of the Kansas City bullpen, which had been starting to show some cracks, nailed down the victory.
Indians: OF Michael Brantley got the night off. “He really wanted to play but I thought it’d be good for him,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He’s a little beat up.”
Royals: C Salvador Perez sat out after getting dinged in the helmet Tuesday night. He passed a concussion test and manager Ned Yost said he would be available if needed.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer has thrown at least seven innings in four consecutive starts, going 2-1 with a 1.53 ERA over that span. He earned a no decision against Kansas City in April.
Royals: RHP Chris Young makes his sixth start since joining the rotation. He is 4-1 with a 1.55 ERA, tops among big league pitchers with at least 40 innings.
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