Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Justin Masterson watches a throw during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Justin Masterson remained unbeaten in four decisions and the Cleveland Indians, after being stymied for five innings by Luke Hochevar, rallied to beat Kansas City 7-5 on Wednesday night.
Hochevar (2-2) retired the first 15 batters, allowing only three balls to be hit hard, and ran his string of retired batters over two starts to 31 straight. But he lost his no-hitter, his shutout, his composure and his lead in a messy sixth that saw the Indians send nine men to the plate.
Masterson (4-0) settled down after allowing two runs in the first inning. The right-hander, who was 6-13 a year ago, allowed six hits and five walks and struck out three in six innings.
Melky Cabrera’s RBI double in the ninth off Tony Sipp ended a string of 9 1-3 scoreless innings for the Cleveland bullpen and Jeff Francoeur, on an 0-2 pitch with two out, followed with a two-run home run. Francoeur, running his hitting streak to 10 in a row, had three RBIs.
Chris Perez came in to get the last out and earn his sixth save in six opportunities.
Michael Brantley’s leadoff single in the sixth broke up Hochevar’s perfect game, then the pitcher balked him to second and surrendered an RBI double to Matt LaPorta. After LaPorta went to third on an infield out, Hochevar balked him home, tying it 2-all.
Before Orlando Cabrera struck out on the 36th pitch of the inning, the Indians had taken a 4-2 lead on two-out RBI doubles by Shin-Soo Choo and Travis Hafner.
After Hochevar walked the first two batters in the seventh, Tim Collins relieved and No. 9 hitter Jack Hannahan, after failing to sacrifice, pulled a two-run double into the right-field corner.
With two out, Collins walked Carlos Santana, loading the bases, but Travis Hafner took a called third strike.
Hochevar wound up getting charged with six runs on five hits, with four strikeouts, three walks and two balks as the Indians widened their lead in the AL Central to two games over the Royals.
Going back to his previous start when he held Seattle to one hit in seven innings, Hochevar had retired 31 in a row, two short of the team record Steve Busby set in 1974.
The Royals took a 2-0 lead in the first on Francoeur’s RBI single and an RBI triple by Alex Gordon, who stretched his hitting streak to 14 games, best in the American League.
Altogether, Masterson gave up a triple, two singles and two walks in the inning but allowed only five more baserunners until he walked the first two batters in the seventh. With two out and the bases loaded, Vinnie Pestano got Mike Aviles on a called third strike.
Carlos Santana had an RBI single off Kanekoa Texeira in the ninth.
NOTES: With Gordon having a 14-game hitting streak and Wilson Betemit hitting in 11 straight and Francoeur in 10, the Royals have three players with double-digit streaks for the first time since May 22, 2001. Mike Sweeney on that day had a 13-gamer and Joe Randa and Rey Sanchez had each hit in 10 straight. ... Masterson was only 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in six spring starts after going 6-13 with a 4.70 the year before. ... The Cleveland bullpen started the night with the best ERA (2.47) in the AL.