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Royals score all four runs on sac flies in win

The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals matched a club record with four sacrifice flies and that was enough to manufacture a victory the way rookie right-hander Yordano Ventura was throwing.

Ventura pitched seven impressive innings in a 4-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday. The Royals won for the first time in club history when they scored all of their runs with three or more sacrifice flies.

The Royals completed their homestand with a 5-2 record to move a game above .500 for the first time since May 18.

All the Royals runs came on sacrifice flies by designated hitter Billy Butler, second baseman Omar Infante, center fielder Jarrod Dyson and shortstop Alcides Escobar, who went 3-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.

"What you saw today was some tremendous situational hitting -- four sacrifice flies with some great some great instinctual baserunning from Escobar to score on a popup to short," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Ventura (4-5), who has won back-to-back starts since leaving a May 26 game in the third inning with a tender elbow, held the Indians to one run and six singles, striking out three and walking none.

"He had probably one of his best games of the year, command-wise with his fastball," Yost said. "He was just really putting it exactly where he wanted it, a power fastball, and mixed in a really good changeup and an occasional good curveball."

Indians manager Terry Francona was impressed with Ventura.

"He's got a pretty special arm and he can mix in off-speed that you have to respect that makes it really difficult," Francona said. "We got some hits but weren't able to string anything together."

Butler's sacrifice fly in the seventh scored Infante to give the Royals a three-run cushion. It was the third time in franchise history the Royals have had four sacrifice flies in a game, the previous being April 23, 2006.

The Indians loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth against right-hander Wade Davis but failed to score.

After center fielder Michael Bourn and left fielder Michael Brantley singled, sandwiched around a walk to third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, Davis wriggled out of the jam. He struck out second baseman Jason Kipnis and first baseman Carolos Santana and retired right fielder David Murphy on a ground ball to strand the runners.

"Against Davis, who is probably having the best year of any reliever in the league, he's fighting command and we get the bases loaded," Francona said. "Then he regroups and you see why the league has 11 hits off him.

"We had the middle of our order up. For Davis to regroup, he painted on Kip (Kipnis) after not commanding and struck Carlos out. I liked where we were and who we had up, but there is a reason that guy has given up 11 hits and got about 40-something strikeouts (48)."

Right-hander Greg Holland worked a flawless ninth to log his 19th save.

Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer (1-3) took the loss, giving up three run and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings

The Indians scored their only run in the sixth, which Bourn led off with a bunt single and moved to second on Chisenhall's single. Santana drilled a two-out single to right to score Bourn.

The Royals took a 2-0 lead in the third. Third baseman Mike Moustakas led off with a double off the right field wall and stopped at third on Escobar's single that extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Both scored on sacrifice flies by Dyson and Infante. Shortstop Mike Aviles fell down while catching Infante's popup to shallow left in the sun, allowing Escobar to score.

"I saw Aviles was struggling for a moment with the sun and when he caught the ball and went down to the grass, I said I'm going because he needs to get up again and make a perfect throw," Escobar said. "That's a hard play.

"I saw it on the replay. I didn't know the pitcher cut it off and I said, 'Oh, wow.' The sun is right on the left field side and that fly ball is not easy. He lost the ball for one moment and I'm thinking I can go. This is the first time I've done that. In that situation, the third-base coach doesn't send me. I go by myself."

Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer (1-3) took the loss, giving up three run and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings

"I just try to make good pitches throughout the game," Bauer said. "If they score, they score. If they don't, they don't. I try to keep the team in it and give us a chance to win it. I think I did a decent job of that today."

Ventura restricted the Indians to three singles in the first five innings. Brantley and Kipnis singled with two out in the first but were marooned when Santana grounded out. After Kipnis' single, Ventura, who threw 61 strikes in 85 pitches, retired 13 of the next 14 hitters he faced.

"I went out there with the mentality to throw a lot of strikes," Ventura said through an interpreter. "Something good was going to happen if I threw a lot of strikes."

The only other hit off Ventura the first five innings was Chisenhall's infield single with two outs in the second that extended his hitting streak to a career-high nine games.

"It's tough to square up 98 (mph fastball)," said Indians designated hitter Jason Giambi, who in his first three at-bats grounded out to Moustakas, who was stationed on the right side of second base. "It's not easy and you've got to be perfect to do it especially with them playing the shifts. When a kid throws like that, it's definitely to their advantage."

NOTES: Indians 1B Nick Swisher, who is on the disabled list with a left knee hyperextension, is scheduled to join the club Thursday in Boston after rehabbing two games with Double-A Akron. ... Chisenhall batted second for only the third time in his career. ... OF Lorenzo Cain, who is the Royals' leading hitter with a .322 average, was not in the lineup. ... Royals 1B Eric Hosmer hit two home runs during the homestand after having only one in the first two months.

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