Kansas City came to Progressive Field with an 11-game losing streak and saw it grow to 12 with a loss in the series opener against Cleveland.
The Royals, after snapping the streak with a win on Wednesday, used consecutive run scoring singles with one out in the fifth inning from Jeff Francoeur, Mike Moustakas and Brayan Pena to leave town with a 2-game win streak with a 4-3 win over the Indians before 9,229 on a dreary, foggy Thursday afternoon in Cleveland.
Francoeur’s 2-out RBI single broke a 1-1 tie while Moustakas and Pena allowed the Royals to get insurace in winning their first series since taking two of three in the season opening 3-game set at Los Angeles against the Angels.
Luis Mendoza (1-2) allowed two runs on four hits in 5.0 innings and the Royals bullpen of Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Jonathan Broxton, who gave the Indians two hits with three walks without a run over the final 4.0 innings. Broxton, who allowed a walk and single in the ninth, earned his second save.
After the Royals took a 1-0 lead in the first on a bases loaded double play ball by Eric Hosmer, the Indians got it back in the third. Aaron Cunningham singled home Jose Lopez, who led off the inning with a single, advance on an infield out and moved to third on a wild pitch by Mendoza.
While Hosmer went 0-for-5, he made two outstanding plays at first base to deny Cleveland two scoring chances late in the game. His play against Brantley in the seventh with Collins pitching came with a runner on third and two out and denied Brantley an RBI hit.
Hosmer then caught Cabrera’s line drive to get the first out of the eighth for Royals reliever Crow.
Cleveland’s other run came in the sixth when Travis Hafner hit a sacrifice fly. But it was a chance missed as the Indians had loaded the bases with no outs when Michael Brantley bunted his way on, Asdrubal Cabrera singled and Carlos Santana walked.
Collins then replaced Mendoza and allowed the run scoring fly ball to Hafner but retired Shelley Duncan on strikes and got Jack Hannahan to bounce out to short to end the inning with just one run scoring.
Crow gave the Indians another shot at getting back to even when he walked Hafner and Duncan with two outs in the eighth but got Hannahan on a fly ball to keep the Royals ahead 4-2.
Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin (1-2), who allowed the RBI singles in the fifth to Francoeur and Moustakas, did not get out of the fifth, going 4.2, allowing four runs on eight hits with a pair of walks and a strike out in taking the loss.
Pena’s RBI hit came against Dan Wheeler, who walked the next hitter but retired the next four to keep the game at 4-2.
Kansas City got two hits each from Alex Gordon and Billy Butler, who each scored once along with Moustakas and Pena
Cleveland, now 2-6 at home, remains at Progressive Field, hosting a 3-game set beginning Friday against Los Angeles while the Royals continue a 9-game road trip by moving on to play three at Minnesota.