The Indians (17-17) look to end a four-game losing streak to the Royals (9-22), and avoid a three-game sweep when the division rivals meet Wednesday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
Cleveland won its first meeting with Kansas City on April 21, but has since lost the next four. The Indians have a 7.46 ERA against the Royals this season after a 10-7 loss on Tuesday.
“We just have to keep working,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “We need guys to step up. We’ve been looking for that guy to come in in the middle of an inning and stop the bleeding. We’ve been struggling with that all year.”
The Royals are hitting .374 against Cleveland, led by second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, who is 11-for-23 against the Indians after going 4-for-5 in Tuesday’s victory.
Buck’s three-run homer triggered a six-run rally in the sixth inning for Kansas City that erased a 6-4 deficit Tuesday. Graffanino added an RBI double and Aaron Guiel a two-run single in the inning.
“This win was huge,” Buck said. “It just goes to show if you stick together, things will work out.”
Kansas City has won four of six and is trying for its first three-game winning streak of the season. The Royals are also seeking their first three-game home sweep of the Indians since May 9-12, 2002.
The Indians will try to salvage the finale behind Jake Westbrook (3-2, 5.23 ERA), who is 4-2 with a 1.65 ERA against the Royals in 15 appearances— including nine starts.
Westbrook won his last outing by allowing three runs and six hits over six innings in a 9-4 victory at Seattle on Friday. He improved to 2-2 with a 6.65 ERA in four road starts this year.
Cleveland was encouraged by its 14-hit attack on Tuesday despite its third loss in four games. The Indians, who have scored a major league-leading 211 runs this year, had managed only six runs over their previous three games.
“You’re going to have stretches over the course of a long season where you’re just a little bit off for a game or two,” Wedge said. “But it’s just as important for us to nip it in the bud.”
Scott Elarton (0-4, 3.86) will start for Kansas City against his former team. Elarton is still looking for a victory despite pitching well last Friday, allowing one run and three hits over six innings in Kansas City’s 5-4 road win over the Chicago White Sox.
The veteran right-hander went 11-9 with a 4.61 ERA for Cleveland last year before signing a two-year deal with Kansas City in the offseason. It was the second-highest win total of his eight-year career.
Elarton is facing the Indians for the first time since June 3, 2003, while with Colorado. He’s 2-0 with a 4.91 ERA in three starts against them.