CLEVELAND (AP)Maikel Franco drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning and had an RBI single in the ninth as Kansas City beat the Cleveland Indians 8-6 Tuesday night to snap a seven-game losing streak.
Whit Merrifield hit a three-run homer and Cam Gallagher had an RBI double for Kansas City, which had been outscored 51-18 and only held the lead after one inning in losing its first seven games in September.
Adalberto Mondesi led off the eighth with a single off Adam Cimber (0-1) and scored on Franco’s fly to center, putting the Royals up 6-5. Later in the inning, Nicky Lopez was hit by a pitch from Oliver Perez with the bases loaded to score Hunter Dozier.
Franco added a two-out single in the ninth off Adam Plutko to extend Kansas City’s advantage to 8-5.
Greg Holland (3-0) worked two perfect innings, striking out three, for the win. Scott Barlow allowed one run in the ninth before earning his second save.
Carlos Santana, Sandy Leon and Francisco Lindor each homered for Cleveland, which had won three in a row.
Indians rookie Triston McKenzie struck out seven and allowed three hits in five innings, leaving with a 5-3 lead. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA through four starts.
Royals right-hander Jakob Junis gave up a season-high five runs and all three Cleveland homers in 4 1/3 innings, remaining winless in seven starts since Sept. 4, 2019.
Santana hit a two-run homer in the first and Leon had a solo shot in the second to stake Cleveland to a 3-0 lead, but Merrifield answered with a three-run blast onto the left-field porch in the third.
Lindor put the Indians back in front 5-3 in the bottom of the third with a two-run homer, plating Cesar Hernandez. Lindor has a .500 career average against Junis with five home runs and 14 RBIs in 36 at-bats.
Kansas City tied the score again with two runs in the seventh. Nicky Lopez reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Matt Reynolds, then came around on Gallagher’s RBI double off Cal Quantrill.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona missed his 28th game because of season-long gastrointestinal issues that required surgery.
BACK TO FORM
Indians LHP Brad Hand leads the majors with 12 saves in 12 opportunities, including a three-strikeout performance Monday against the Royals. The three-time All-Star failed in five of his final 17 save chances last year while battling a tired arm. ”He’s been a real stabilizing force in the back of the bullpen,” team president Chris Antonetti said.
Antonetti said the Indians have had ”some preliminary dialogue” with MLB about having players wear No. 14 in honor of Larry Doby. Doby became the first Black to play in the American League when he debuted with Cleveland on July 5, 1947. Jackie Robinson broke the color line on April 15, 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Royals: OF Jorge Soler (right oblique strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sept. 6. He owned the third-longest consecutive games streak in the majors at 199 before sitting Thursday against the White Sox.
Indians: 3B Jose Ramirez (left hand bruise) was out of the lineup and is listed as day-to-day after an MRI did not reveal significant damage. He exited early Monday and has experienced pain since originally being hurt Aug. 15 at Detroit.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (2-3, 4.83 ERA) seeks to break a seven-start winless streak in Cleveland. He is 0-6 with a 9.33 ERA at Progressive Field since Sept. 22, 2014.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (2-3, 3.43 ERA) faces Kansas City for the second time this year. He struck out 10 over six innings, earning the win on July 26 in Cleveland.
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