Indians go for season-high third straight win

Cleveland Indians' Michael Brantley, right, celebrates his two-run home run against the Kansas City Royals with Jason Kipnis (22) in the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 21, 2014, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

After coming from behind to win each of their last two contests, the Cleveland Indians might be ready to string together even more victories.

They can start with a season-high third straight win Tuesday night against the visiting Kansas City Royals.

Cleveland (9-10) snapped a three-game skid Sunday when it overcame a pair of two-run deficits to beat Toronto 6-4. A night later, Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley each hit two-run home runs as the Indians rallied from a 3-2 deficit to top Kansas City 4-3.

The Indians have won two in a row three times, but followed the first two such runs with at least two consecutive losses.

Kipnis was 3 for 14 in his previous five games, but with two hits Monday raised his average to .400 (12 for 30) with six RBIs in his last nine versus Kansas City at home.


"He gives himself a chance every at-bat," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

Brantley is 9 for 23 with six RBIs in his last six overall against the Royals.

He’s 9 for 27 against Kansas City starter James Shields (1-2, 2.00 ERA), who will try to help the Royals avoid a third straight defeat after winning five in a row.

Kansas City (9-9) totaled five runs while losing Shields’ first three starts, but gave him plenty of support in a 5-1 win at Houston on Thursday. The right-hander allowed that run and four hits while striking out 12 with two walks over eight innings.

"When you get ahead in the count and make your pitches you’re successful," Shields said.

He was 1-5 with a 4.20 ERA in 12 career starts versus Cleveland before posting a 1.93 ERA while winning his last two against the Indians in 2013.

Cleveland will counter with Danny Salazar (0-2, 7.71), who looks to avoid a third straight losing start after he yielded 10 runs over 8 1-3 innings in his last two. Opponents are hitting .345 against the right-hander after he gave up five runs and six hits – including his fourth homer – over 4 2-3 in Thursday’s 7-5 loss at Detroit.

"We all see what Danny can do and we believe that he will do it," Francona told the Indians’ official website. "I think with youth, sometimes it doesn’t happen as fast. You want it to happen right now. He’ll be all right."

Salazar gave up four runs and six hits in six innings of a 7-2 loss Sept. 18 in his only other appearance against the Royals.

Alex Gordon and Omar Infante combined for four of Kansas City’s six hits Monday. The Royals had at least nine in each of their previous five games.

"It’s not like they’re not trying," manager Ned Yost said. "Hopefully we’ll get better when we start swinging the bats."

Gordon is 8 for 23 in his last five games at Cleveland after he went 0 for 19 in his previous five there.

Indians veteran Jason Giambi went 0 for 4 on Monday in his season debut after opening on the disabled list with a broken rib. He’s 1 for 17 with five strikeouts versus Shields.