CLEVELAND — Chris Gimenez was happy to help the Cleveland Indians win, delighted to get a career-high four RBIs and ecstatic to put his batting average over .200
The seldom-used backup catcher had two hits including one of Cleveland's trio of three-run homers to beat the Kansas City Royals 15-4 Friday night.
“That's a good night,” said Gimenez, who raised his average 40 points to .212.
“It hate to admit it, but seeing a '2' next to my name does wonders,” he said. “I've been working to adjust to being able to swing the bat whenever I get the chance. It's mostly mental. It felt real good to contribute.”
Four of Gimenez's seven hits in 33 at-bats have been for extra-bases.
Matt LaPorta hit a three-run homer in Cleveland's six-run second inning off Bryan Bullington (1-3). Gimenez and Jayson Nix, who tied a career high with four RBIs, later connected with two on against relievers in the Indians' largest offensive output since a 15-3 win over Oakland on July 3, 2009.
“The long ball was huge,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “LaPorta set the tone and I'm glad for Chris. “He's got some power, but has to adjust to his role. It's tough to get hits when you're not going up to the plate that much.
Josh Tomlin (2-3) won for the first time in five starts since beating the New York Yankees in his major league debut July 27. The right-hander allowed three runs and eight hits over five innings.
Jason Donald tied a career high with four hits as Cleveland earned its first consecutive wins since taking three in a row July 31 to Aug. 2.
“Once you see somebody get a big knock, you want to hop in there and keep it going,” Donald said. “One through nine, the lineup did a great job.”
The Indians have lost 13 of 18 and trail the fourth-place Royals by two games in the AL Central.
The Royals' Gregor Blanco had four hits for the fourth time in his career, but manager Ned Yost failed to get career win No. 500. He is 499-553 with Milwaukee and Kansas City, going 42-51 since replacing Trey Hillman on May 14.
“Starting pitching, man,” Yost said. “If it's not good, you're in trouble.
“We're in the big leagues. There's no ifs. You gotta go out and you gotta pitch. Bully left some pitches middle in that he got hurt with. Really, they all did.”
Bullington gave up seven runs and nine hits over four innings in his second straight poor start after beating the Yankees 1-0 on two hits Aug. 15 for his first career win. The No. 1 overall draft pick in 2002 by Pittsburgh has played with four teams, including Cleveland, in parts of five seasons.
The right-hander gave up 11 hits and six runs over five innings Saturday to the Chicago White Sox. He retired Cleveland in order in the first inning, then made 40 pitches in the second, when the Indians totaled seven hits. They had hit only .151 (34 for 225) with seven runs while going 1-5 in six previous games.
“Baseball is tough to predict,” Acta said. “We're happy to enjoy it when it comes around our way.”
LaPorta's homer was his second in two games and ninth overall. Gimenez had an RBI double and scored on a single by Michael Brantley to make it 5-0. Brantley stole second and scored on a two-out single by Shin-Soo Choo.
Wilson Betemit led off the Royals' fourth with his ninth homer. Yuniesky Betancourt and Blanco added run-scoring singles later in the inning to make it 6-3.
Nix doubled home Choo, who had doubled, to put Cleveland up 7-3 in the bottom half.
Tomlin walked a career-high four and struck out only one, but showed improvement after losing three straight starts with a 5.50 ERA.
“It just wasn't a very good game,” Yost said. “It was one of those games where you look for a positive and there wasn't any.”
NOTES: The Royals have dropped six straight season series to Cleveland but lead 5-4 with nine games left this year. ... Cleveland has 47 hits in the past three meetings. ... Royals 1B Billy Butler did not play because of a sore right hand. “He's been playing with it for weeks and it's just time to let him heal and maybe have a big September,” Yost said. Despite the ailment, Butler has hit in 11 of his last 12 games, going 15 for 44, .341. ... Bullington was 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA in three games for Cleveland in 2008. He's 61-38 in the minors and 1-8 in the majors. ... Cleveland RHP Justin Germano worked two scoreless innings. He has not allowed an earned run in 16 2-3 innings over 11 outings since coming up July 30 from Triple-A Columbus. ... Cleveland last got three 3-run homers on July 2, 2004, against Cincinnati. They were hit by Victor Martinez, Coco Crisp and Casey Blake, all of whom are on other teams now.