The Indians try to extend their lead in the AL Central on Saturday night when the division rivals continue their three-game set.
Zach Greinke and five relievers limited the Indians to six hits on Friday, leading the Royals to a 2-1 victory. Rookie Asdrubal Cabrera had two hits for Cleveland (70-57), which has lost nine of its last 12 at Kansas City.
Indians ace C.C. Sabathia pitched his third complete game, but again received little offensive support from his teammates. He has won only once in his last seven starts despite a 2.13 ERA in that span as the Indians have scored only 18 runs in those games.
“I’m not frustrated,” Sabathia said. “That’s just baseball. We’ve not played the way we’re capable of playing. We haven’t put that stretch together where we win eight out of 10.”
The Indians are batting .249 and averaging 3.5 runs in their last 12 games, contributing to an 18-21 record after the All-Star break..
“We had a shot to tie or take the lead,” Wedge said. “We’re still seeing some issues with our offense - consistency, or lack of.”
Kansas City (57-70) only managed five hits off Sabathia, but had enough offense to win for the ninth time in 12 games at Kauffman Stadium.
Greinke pitched three scoreless innings in his first start since May 6, and John Bale worked the next three for his first victory since Aug. 29, 2003.
“When you beat C.C., who had great stuff, maybe the best stuff we’ve seen all season, we needed to pitch the way we did tonight to win,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “Zack pitched great and Bale pitched outstanding. Really, Bale saved us.”
Aaron Laffey (1-1, 5.73 ERA) will be recalled from the minors to make his third major league start for the Indians. The left-hander was the International League Pitcher of the Week, going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his past two starts. He’s also 9-3 with a 3.08 ERA in 16 games, including 15 starts for Triple-A Buffalo.
He made his most recent start against the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 9 and outpitched Mark Buehrle in a 7-5 win. Laffey worked 5 2-3 innings, allowing four runs and five hits while walking three and striking out four.
This will be his first appearance against the Royals.
Kyle Davies (1-2, 5.03) hopes to rebound from consecutive losses when he faces the Indians for the second time this season. The right-hander allowed two runs and six hits in five innings, struck out four and walked three Sunday in a 6-1 loss at Oakland.
“We lost and I only gave them five innings,” Davies said. “I felt good out of the bullpen and I tried to take that with me into the game but maybe I was too amped up. I couldn’t get the ball down and I couldn’t locate my fastball.”
Davies, acquired July 31 from Atlanta for closer Octavio Dotel, has pitched past the fifth inning once in four starts with the Royals.
He faced the Indians on June 17 while with the Braves, and was reached for five runs - three earned - and six hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 5-3 loss.