CLEVELAND -- It was not a thing of beauty for either team, but for the team that won, Tuesday's game was slightly easier to digest.
"It seemed like we did everything tonight but lose," Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona said after his team rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 at Progressive Field.
Four Cleveland pitchers combined for five walks, two wild pitches and a three-base throwing error, but it all worked out in the end, although the Indians had to withstand a wild but unsuccessful Kansas City rally in the top of the ninth.
"I had every intention of going one, two, three in the ninth," Cleveland closer Vinnie Pestano said. "It didn't happen that way, but no runs scored and we got the 'W.'"
In picking up his second save while replacing injured closer Chris Perez, Pestano gave up three singles and a walk in the ninth -- but no runs.
With Cleveland leading 4-3, David Lough led off the Kansas City ninth with a single, and he went to second on a single by Mike Moustakas. Chris Getz struck out for the first out before Alcides Escobar slapped a single to right field.
As right fielder Drew Stubbs threw home, Lough came around third base in a full sprint, but he saw third base coach Eddie Rodriguez throw up the stop sign. Lough stopped, but in no man's land between third and home.
Lough got into a rundown, and he dived back into third just as Moustakas arrived there from second.
"I ran Lough back to third, but Moustakas was already there, so I tagged them both," Pestano said.
Moustakas was ruled out for the second out.
"I take full responsibility for that. It's 100 percent my fault," said Lough, feeling he should have picked up Rodriguez's stop sign sooner.
Pestano then walked Alex Gordon to load the bases, but he got Eric Hosmer on a groundout to first to end the game.
Held to one run on three hits over seven innings by Kansas City starter Ervin Santana, the Indians rallied for three runs off the Royals' bullpen, whose 2.63 ERA is the lowest in the American League.
"We don't give up leads in the eighth inning very often, but we did tonight," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said.
With the Indians trailing 3-1, Ryan Raburn led off the bottom of the eighth by drawing a walk from reliever Kelvin Herrera (3-5). Raburn went to second on a groundout by Drew Stubbs, and Raburn scored on a single by Michael Bourn to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Mike Aviles followed with a single, sending Bourn to second, and Bourn scored the tying run when Jason Kipnis slapped a double down the left field line off Tim Collins. Aviles went to third on Kipnis' hit, and Michael Brantley's sacrifice fly drove in Aviles, giving Cleveland a 4-3 lead.
Santana held Cleveland to three hits in his seven innings before the bullpen implosion in the eighth.
The Indians were their own worst enemy for much of the game. Two of the Royals' runs came as the result of wild pitches by Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez, and the third run came compliments of an error by reliever Cody Allen (2-0).
With Kansas City leading 2-1 in the eighth inning, Allen fielded a grounder hit back to the mound by Hosmer and threw wildly to first. Hosmer wound up at third base, and he scored on a single by the next batter, Salvador Perez.
Cleveland trailed 2-0 in the sixth inning when Stubbs singled, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Aviles. Allen's error in the top of the eighth made it 3-1.
Santana has been one of the hottest pitchers in the league, posting a 2-0 record and a 0.83 ERA in his previous three starts. He continued his dominance Tuesday, holding Cleveland scoreless on one hit through five innings. That allowed the Royals to take a 2-0 lead.
Jimenez walked the first two batters he faced in the third inning, Escobar and Gordon. The runners moved to second and third on Jimenez's first wild pitch. Escobar scored on a groundout by Hosmer, and Gordon scored on Jimenez's second wild pitch.
The two wild pitches brought Cleveland's season total to 40, the most of any team in the majors.
NOTES: The Indians recalled 3B Lonnie Chisenhall from Triple-A Columbus, where he was hitting .390 with six home runs and 26 RBIs. To clear a roster spot, the Indians optioned RHP Matt Langwell to Columbus. ... DH Billy Butler needs one more home run to reach 109 with the Royals. That would tie him with Bo Jackson for 10th place in club history. ... Escobar is tied for second in the American League with 15 infield hits, one behind Boston's Dustin Pedroia.