Royals 9, Indians 7

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Jeremy Affeldt decided closing out the Kansas City Royals’ win was the least he could do.

Affeldt pitched 2 1/3 perfect innings, earning his fourth save in as many chances, as the Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 9-7 Wednesday night and made up ground in the AL Central race.

Brent Mayne’s two-run double highlighted a five-run fifth inning for the Royals, who snapped a four-game home losing streak and pulled within 3 1/2 games of the division-leading Chicago White Sox.

“The offense got us back in the game,” Affeldt said. “When they do that, you feel obligated to go out and do the same for them.”

Kris Wilson (6-3) earned the win with one inning of relief work, and Curtis Leskanic also turned in a clutch bullpen performance for the Royals.

Josh Bard hit a three-run homer and Alex Escobar and Jody Gerut had three hits each for the Indians, who lost for the seventh time in eight games.

With two out and the bases loaded, Mayne doubled off the right-field wall against Rafael Betancourt, who came in when reliever Jose Santiago (1-3) failed to retire any of the three batters he faced.

Santiago gave up a single to Rondell White, then walked Raul Ibanez and Angel Berroa. Berroa’s walk forced in Beltran, making it 6-5.

Berroa held up at third on Mayne’s double but scored on right fielder Alex Escobar’s throwing error.

Cleveland right-hander Chad Durbin, pressed into his first start of the season when C.C. Sabathia was scratched with what the Indians said was food poisoning, left with one out in the fifth and a 6-4 lead.

Durbin, who underwent “Tommy John” surgery on his elbow last September, gave up five runs on nine hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He was lifted for Santiago after Carlos Beltran’s RBI single cut Cleveland’s lead to 6-4.

“I thought he gave us a great effort,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “He didn’t have the command of his curveball that he’s had this year, but he showed a lot of guts out there.”

The Indians have not determined when Sabathia will start next.

“He was a man about it today,” Wedge said. “He went all the way up to 6 o’clock, but he wasn’t able to keep anything down.”

The Indians shelled Royals starter Brian Anderson, who was coming off a 5-0 shutout win at Anaheim on Sunday, for nine hits and six runs in just 4 1/3 innings.

Anderson, who struck out one and walked none, retired the first seven batters and took a 3-1 lead into the fourth inning—when he gave up five hits and five runs before getting an out.

Singles by Gerut, Casey Blake and Ben Broussard loaded the bases for Escobar, whose single up the middle scored Gerut and Blake. Bard followed with a shot into the left-field bullpen on a full count.

Wilson relieved Anderson, who also gave up Jhonny Peralta’s solo homer in the third inning, after Gerut’s one-out double in the fifth.

White’s two-run double put the Royals up 2-0 in the first inning, and Joe Randa’s RBI double made it 3-0 in the second.

The Royals escaped relatively unscathed from jams in the sixth and seventh innings, then made it 9-7 in the bottom of the seventh on Desi Relaford’s RBI double off Jason Boyd.

Travis Hafner’s RBI triple off Wilson in the sixth cut Kansas City’s lead to 8-7. Leskanic replaced Wilson after Peralta walked, and Hafner was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Brandon Phillips’ grounder to Berroa at shortstop. Coco Crisp then struck out to end the inning.

The Indians had the bases loaded with two out in the seventh against Leskanic, but Affeldt came in and got pinch-hitter Victor Martinez to ground out to third.

“From now on, we’re going to have to have four closers: a closer for the sixth inning, a closer for the seventh, a closer for the eighth and a closer for the ninth,” Leskanic said. “That’s just how it’s going to have to be, ifwe’re going to win this thing.”

Notes

Broussard’s fourth-inning single extended his hitting streak to nine games. … Of the 18 batters in the game’s starting lineups, only Berroa went hitless. He was 0-for-2 with two walks and two runs. … Royals RHPs Jose Lima and Miguel Asencio both threw simulated games on Saturday. Lima, who has been on the DL with a groin strain since Aug. 27, is scheduled to throw another simulated game on Saturday and is expected to rejoin the rotation late next week. Asencio, who went on the DL May 21 with elbow inflammation, will not pitch again this year. … Escobar’s three hits were a career high. … The Indians said OF Matt Lawton would not need surgery on his inflamed right middle finger but would miss the remainder of the year. Lawton was placed on the DL onTuesday.

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