Indians-Royals Preview

The Associated Press

The Cleveland Indians couldn't get much going with their bats during a season-opening homestand. It took them one inning in Kansas City to break out of that funk.

Cleveland tries to win two in a row for the first time this year Saturday night when it continues its AL Central series against the Royals.

After averaging 4.0 runs and hitting .176 during a rough five-game stretch in Cleveland to begin 2012, the Indians (2-4) scored seven times in the first inning Friday en route to an 8-3 victory that spoiled the Royals' home opener.

Michael Brantley had two hits in the first inning – he was 1 for 17 before that – as the Indians scored more runs in that frame than in any of their first five games.

"That's the way the game goes," said manager Manny Acta, whose team has won 10 of 14 at Kansas City. "Water usually goes to the level it's supposed to be. I knew those guys would bat better, and the first inning was a great example of that."

After giving starter Derek Lowe an early cushion in the series opener, the Indians will try to do the same for Jeanmar Gomez.

The right-hander, who had a 1.37 ERA in six spring outings to earn the fifth starter's spot ahead of Kevin Slowey, got his first action of the season in Wednesday's 10-6 loss to the Chicago White Sox, striking out three while retiring all six batters he faced in relief.

Gomez's spot in the rotation was skipped the night before due to a rainout.

He went 1-1 with a 5.59 ERA in two starts in Kansas City last season.

Royals left-hander Jonathan Sanchez will make his first career start at Kauffman Stadium. Acquired from San Francisco in the offseason in the Melky Cabrera deal, Sanchez gave up two runs over five innings in his Royals debut Sunday, a 7-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Sanchez is 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA in two career starts against the Indians. He walked six, matching his 2011 season high, in the Giants' 4-3 victory over Cleveland on June 24.

Royals manager Ned Yost could use a lengthy start from Sanchez after Luke Hochevar was knocked out of Friday's game when a Carlos Santana line drive went off his lower leg to end the fourth inning.

Kansas City (3-4) could also use more run production from Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, who each went 1 for 4 with an RBI on Friday – their first opening day at Kauffman Stadium.

"We didn't get off to the start we wanted," said Hosmer, who is batting .207. "But it's a long season, and we haven't played our best baseball yet."

Cleveland has won 21 of 30 in this series.