KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Cleveland Indians received a gift-wrapped victory Tuesday night.
The Kansas City Royals walked eight and hit a batter, and the Indians held on for a 6-5 victory at Kauffman Stadium.
Jason Giambi contributed a run-producing double and Carlos Santana a sacrifice fly in the seventh to break a 4-4 tie.
The seventh began with Tim Collins, the third of five Royals' pitchers, walking Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis, the only two batters he faced. Aaron Crow replaced Collins and walked Nick Swisher to load the bases.
Santana's fly out to center scored Cabrera, while Swisher's two-out double brought home Kipnis.
Collins has been charged with five runs on two hits and four walks, while retiring only one batter in his past two outings.
"It's just a rough patch," Collins said. "I've got to go out there and do a better job of throwing strikes. I'm just not getting ahead of guys. You fall behind and you can't do much. That's all it is, not commanding the baseball and walking a lot of guys.
"When you're not throwing strikes with your fastball, they're not even going to swing at your off-speed. You can't even throw it. Right now, it's just fastball command and getting ahead of hitters."
The Indians won their fifth straight and 11 of 14 to remain atop the American League Central. The Indians have scored 42 runs in those five wins.
"The offense is putting up some big numbers," said Indians reliever Joe Smith, who worked a perfect seventh inning.
The Royals got a run in the eighth when Billy Butler's double down the left-field line scored Eric Hosmer, who led off the inning with a double. Pinch-runner Elliot Johnson was stranded at third when David Lough grounded into a double play.
Cody Allen, who retired the only batter he faced, picked up the victory to improve to 3-0. Chris Perez worked in and out of trouble in the ninth, giving up a hit and a walk, to log his eighth save.
The Indians scored two runs in the first inning, with a lot of help from Royals starter Luis Mendoza. Cleveland loaded the bases with Michael Brantley drawing a leadoff walk and Kipnis and Swisher stroking one-out singles. Kipnis extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and he has reached base in 33 consecutive games.
With the bases full, Mendoza quickly put Santana in a 0-2 hole before walking him, scoring Brantley.
"I think what stands out is that first inning," Nick Swisher said was Santana's walk. "That is the at-bat that got us going in the right direction."
It was the third time Santana walked in nine plate appearances with the bases loaded this season. Mendoza tried to get him to swing at a breaking ball in the dirt.
"Everybody in the ballpark is figuring fastball and he had enough to lay off it and that was huge," Indians manager Terry Francona
Next, Mendoza hit Mark Reynolds with a pitch to force home Kipnis. With the bases still jammed, Mendoza limited the damage by inducing Giambi to roll into an inning-ending double play.
The Indians tacked on two more runs in the fourth. Giambi and Lonnie Chisenhall singled, and Brantley walked to load the bases. Cabrera punched a single to right to score Giambi and Chisenhall, upping the Cleveland lead to 4-0.
Gordon tied it with one swing in the fifth with his grand slam off Cleveland starter Corey Kluber. With the count 3-0, Gordon homered to right. Kluber had limited the Royals to one hit the first four innings before Mike Moustakas and Lough singled to open the inning and Johnny Giavotella walked.
"You're kind of shooting yourself in the foot when you've got eight walks and a hit batter," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "And half of their runs came off benefits of walks with guys on base and a hit batter.
"I thought Alex Gordon gave us a big shot in the arm when he hit the grand slam. We came back out in the seventh and walk the first three guys to setup a two-run inning for them. It's a little disappointing in terms of that."
Mendoza departed after four innings, having yielded four runs on six hits, four walks and a hit batter. He is winless in eight starts at Kauffman Stadium.
NOTES: The Royals came to terms with 16-year-old Italian SS Marten Gasparini for $1.3 million, the largest signing bonus ever for a European prospect. ... Indians RHP Zach McAllister threw 45 pitches, all fastballs, in a bullpen session. He is on the disabled list with a right middle finger sprain. ... Cleveland RHP Brett Myers, who is on the 60-day DL, had another setback with right elbow pain and was scratched from a two-inning rehab assignment Monday. He will be shut down from throwing for three to five days and will be evaluated after that. "Hopefully, it's just a bump in the road," Francona said. ... Santana walked three times, bringing his total to 49, which ranks second on the American League. Tigers 3B Miguel Cabrera has 50.