Santana pitches Royals past Indians

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Ervin Santana is pitching like he did in 2010, when he won 17 games for Anaheim.

Santana threw seven scoreless innings,
Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer and the Kansas City Royals held on
to beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 Saturday night.

Santana (3-1), who was acquired in an
Oct. 31 trade with Anaheim for minor-league pitcher Brandon Sisk,
allowed six singles, struck out five and walked none. The Angels sought
to trade Santana and his 2013 $13 million contract, which the Royals are
paying $12 million, after he went 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA last year and
yielded a major league high 39 home runs.

In his past two starts, he has yielded two runs on 13 hits, walked none and struck out 12.

“He’s been pretty electric,” Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said.

Greg Holland, who logged his sixth
save in seven opportunities, gave up two unearned runs in the ninth on a
Michael Brantley two-out triple, which scored Mark Reynolds, who had an
infield single, and Lonnie Chisenhall, who reached on Hosmer’s error.
Holland struck out Jason Kipnis to end the game.

“I was holding my breath at the end
because Santana deserved that win,” Hosmer said. “It was a great job by
Holland picking me up there. That’s what good teams do, pick guys up.
That was big for us and a big win for the team.

“That’s a mental mistake by me. I
wanted to take a step back and throw to second. In that situation, up
three, you’re playing for outs with Holland on the mound. I learned from
it. In that situation, you want to play for an out, step on first and
then maybe try to throw to second. Luckily, it worked out for the
better.”

The Indians have scored three runs or less in eight of their past 10 games and 13 times this season, going 3-10 in those games.

Scott Kazmir (0-1), who was making
his second big league start in two years, was charged the loss. He gave
up two runs on five hits, while striking out four and walking two. In
his previous start, the Indians scored 19 runs and were ahead 14-0 going
into the bottom of the second at Houston, but Kazmir failed to get out
of the fourth inning, giving up six runs on eight hits, including two
homers.

Kazmir, a two-time American League
All-Star selection while with Tampa Bay, pitched last season with the
Sugar Land Skeeters in the independent Atlantic League and signed a
minor league contact with the Indians in January. He won a slot in the
Cleveland rotation after a strong spring training.

Perez homered just inside the
right-field foul pole in the second inning on an 0-1 pitch from Kazmir
after he walked Jeff Francoeur.

The Indians had five base runners in the second and third innings, but failed to score.

Drew Stubbs, Kipnis and Asdrubal
Cabrera singled in the third, loading the bases with one out. Nick
Swisher grounded into a double play to end the inning.

“That was big right there especially
when I have that kind of stuff to keep the ball down,” Santana said. “I
threw the sinker down and away and got the ground ball double play.”

Swisher led off the second with a
single and Carlos Santana reached on a Miguel Tejada error. Ervin
Santana struck out Reynolds and Chisenhall to end the threat.

“Santana was throwing the ball for
strikes,” Reynolds said. “We had pitches to hit; we just didn’t do it.
We were kind of rolling over on the pitches, maybe trying to do too much
instead of just taking the base hits. He mixed it up really well. Every
time I was sitting heater, he threw me a slider and vice versa. I don’t
think anybody is really pressing. We had opportunities but we just
didn’t do it.”

The Indians used five relief pitchers
in the seventh when the Royals added a run. Alex Gordon’s two-out
single was the only hit. The inning included Bryan Shaw walking the only
two batters he faced and Rich Hill walking Hosmer, the only batter he
faced, with the bases loaded to score Gordon.

Herrera replaced Santana and promptly
gave up a leadoff double to Michael Brantley to lead off the eighth.
Brantley went to third on a wild pitch, but was stranded.

“When you don’t have a ton of
opportunities, not getting those runs in is big,” Indians manager Terry
Francona said. “We got a runner at third and nobody out and didn’t
score.”

Notes: The Royals will call up LHP
Will Smith from Triple-A Omaha on Sunday as the 26th man for the
day-night doubleheader with the Indians and he will start the second
game. Smith went 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in four Pacific Coast League
starts. .RHP Corey Kluber will make his first start of the season in the
nightcap for the Indians. He was rained out of his previous two starts.
.RHP Jeremy Guthrie, who starts the opener, is 7-0 in his past 15
starts, dating to Aug. 8. LHP Paul Splittorff holds the Royals’ record
with 16 consecutive undefeated starts in 1977-78.