Royals 10, Indians 3
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—It was the best mistake Matt Stairs made all night.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth inning, Stairs was looking for a fastball from Cleveland starter Kazuhito Tadano. Tadano crossed him up with an offspeed pitch, and Stairs chased it.
He swung early and caught the pitch with the end of his bat. It fell near the left field line for a three-run bloop double, and the Kansas City Royals were on their way to a 10-3 win over the Indians on Saturday night.
“I’ve got a nice little cue mark on the end of my bat,” Stairs said. Will I take it? Yeah, I will.”
Mike Sweeney and Desi Relaford homered for Kansas City, which broke an eight-game losing streak, and Stairs matched a career high with his third triple of the season. David DeJesus and Ken Harvey had three hits each for the Royals, and Harvey and Sweeney drove in two runs apiece.
“That’s probably the best game we’ve played all year,” said Stairs, who had four RBIs in Friday’s 7-6, 11-inning loss to the Indians.
Omar Vizquel homered and extended his hitting streak to 13 games for Cleveland, which lost for just the second time in nine games and missed a chance to pass the Chicago White Sox for second place in the AL Central.
Zack Greinke (3-8) fell behind 2-0 early but recovered to pitch through the fifth inning for the win. He gave up three runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out four, before D.J. Carrasco relieved him to start the sixth.
“I thought I pitched pretty good tonight,” Greinke said, “but they kept putting the bat on the ball and taking me into deep counts.”
Stairs’ clutch double helped the Royals chase Tadano (1-1) with five runs— one earned—in the fourth inning.
A defensive lapse played a part in the earned run, too.
DeJesus followed with a sacrifice that first baseman Ben Broussard misplayed, loading the bases.
“It was one of those slow rollers that sometimes you barehand and sometimes you glove,” Broussard said. “I decided to glove it, and I wasn’t able to get a good grab on it. He laid down a good bunt, but I’ve got to make that play.”
After a groundout and a strikeout, Stairs’ double cleared the bases for a 6-3 lead.
“We made a couple of errors tonight, and we paid for them,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “If you’re not catching the ball, you’re going to pay for it. Most teams do at this level.”
Ken Harvey followed with an RBI single before Chad Durbin replaced Tadano. Tadano gave up seven runs on eight hits in 3 2-3 innings, walking two and striking out one.
Vizquel’s solo homer in the first put the Indians up 1-0, and Broussard scored on Gerut’s double-play grounder in the second.
Sweeney’s two-run homer into the left field fountains tied it at 2 in the third, but the Indians went up 3-2 in the top of the fourth on Gerut’s RBI single.
Relaford homered and DeJesus added an RBI single off Durbin in the seventh inning, extending the Royals’ lead to 9-3.
In the eighth, Stairs led off with a triple off Matt Miller—the ball skidding past a diving Gerut in right field—and scored on Harvey’s single for a 10-3 lead.
Cleveland had a six-game winning streak against the Royals broken. … Kansas City second baseman Tony Graffanino left the game because of tightness in his left calf. He was replaced by Wilton Guerrero to start the seventh inning and is day to day. The Royals purchased Guerrero’s contract from Triple-A Omaha before the game. Guerrero took the roster spot created Friday when the Royals traded infielder Jose Bautista to the New York Mets for minor-league catcher Justin Huber. … Vizquel has hit safely in 27 of his last 29 games. … Before Saturday night’s game, the Royals traded RHP Rudy Seanez to the Florida Marlins in exchange for OF Abraham Nunez. Nunez hit .173 with one homer and five RBIs in 58 games with the Marlins. Seanez was 0-1 with a 3.91 ERA in 16 games with Kansas City. … In a pregame ceremony, the Royals unveiled a statue of former star second baseman Frank White. The bronze statue depicts White, who played his entire career (1973-90) for Kansas City, making a diving throw to first. … Berroa’s fourth-inning single broke an 0-for-21 slump.