Indians rally to beat Royals, 6-4
CLEVELAND (AP) — Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run double to cap Cleveland’s comeback in the sixth inning, and the Indians charged into the All-Star break with a 6-4 win over Kansas City on Sunday and three-game sweep of the Royals.
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Cabrera’s double off Tim Collins (2-5) led the Indians to their fourth straight win. At 51-44, they stayed 1 1-2 games behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central. Cleveland has its most wins at the break since 2007 — the last time the Indians made the playoffs.
Reliever Rich Hill (1-1) got two outs in the sixth and closer Chris Perez — Cleveland’s fifth reliever — worked the ninth for his 13th save.
Indians All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis drove in two runs.
Billy Butler had three hits for the Royals (43-49), who dropped their fifth straight. Kansas City is third in the AL Central, eight games back.
The Indians have been resilient all season, and the series finale was no different. They trailed 4-3 in the sixth before rallying against Kansas City’s usually reliable bullpen.
Collins, who took the loss in Friday’s series opener, walked Lonnie Chisenhall leading off and Drew Stubbs singled. Michael Bourn sacrificed, and Cabrera, whose name has surfaced in trade rumors, drove a 1-0 pitch into the gap in right-center to put Cleveland back in front.
Kipnis followed with an RBI single off Everett Teaford to give the Indians a 6-4 lead.
Bryan Shaw and Joe Smith combined for two scoreless innings before Perez, who spent time on the disabled list and was charged with drug possession in the first half, gave up a one-out double in the ninth but struck out Butler and retired All-Star catcher Salvador Perez on a grounder for the final out.
The Indians have overcome their share of injuries, inconsistent pitching and a 4-16 stretch which put them 5 1-2 games back of the Tigers on June 17.
After losing three of four to Detroit, Cleveland finished the first half by going 5-1.
Royals starter James Shields ended up with his seventh no-decision in his last nine starts. The right-hander allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings, leaving with a 4-3 lead. Shields has received sparse run support as the Royals have scored just nine total runs in his six losses.
Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez didn’t get through the fifth inning, his shortest start since June 7.
After the Indians took a 3-2 lead in the third, Jimenez let the Royals grab it back in the fourth on Johnny Giavotella’s RBI groundout and Alcides Escobar’s run-scoring single.
Lorenzo Cain walked, stole second and went to third when catcher Carlos Santana’s throw sailed into center. David Lough beat out a bunt, and Giavotella plated Cain with a grounder to short. Escobar, who hit a sacrifice fly in the second, singled to score Lough and put Kansas City up 4-3.
Jimenez walked the leadoff hitter in the fifth and was quickly pulled by manager Terry Francona before things got worse. Reliever C.C. Lee made his major league debut and retired the Royals on three straight popups to keep the Indians within one.
Shields worked around a two-on, none-out jam in the second, but hurt himself with a one-out walk in the third when the Indians scored twice to take a 3-2 lead.
Kipnis walked with one down and moved up on a groundout. Michael Brantley, who came in batting .382 with runners in scoring position, hit an RBI single to tie it 2-all. Santana then doubled inside the bag at first, and third-base coach Brad Mills never hesitated in waving Brantley home.
Kansas City scored twice in the second off Jimenez on Escobar’s sacrifice fly and Alex Gordon’s RBI single.
The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the first on Kipnis’ sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Last year, the Indians were 44-41 at the All-Star break and three games out of first place. They collapsed in August, going 5-24. … Francona will spend a few off days in Las Vegas. “I’m going to see how much money I can lose,” he cracked. “I’m going to lay low.” … Kansas City will be represented in New York by Alex Gordon and Perez, the first time the Royals have had two All-Stars since 2003, when Mike Sweeney and Mike MacDougal were on the AL roster. Perez is the first KC catcher on the team since Darrell Porter in 1980. … Royals activated RHP Wade Davis from the paternity list and designated RHP J.C. Gutierrez for assignment.