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Published: Monday, 4/29/2013

Royals rock Masterson, split 2

Cleveland wins nightcap with offensive outburst

ASSOCIATED PRESS

KANSAS CITY — Justin Masterson couldn't be touched when he got ahead in the count. It was when he started drifting away from the strike zone that the Indians' starter ran into trouble.

Masterson issued a pair of four-pitch walks to struggling Royals hitter Mike Moustakas, and gave up a first-pitcher homer to Alcides Escobar.

By the time Masterson was finally chased from Sunday's game, Kansas City was well on its way to a 9-0 victory.

"I ended up hanging some pitches up there and not finishing through a couple," Masterson said after the opener of doubleheader brought on by Friday night's rain. "Hopefully this is one of the outliers of the season.

"You're bound to have something like this."

Mike Aviles hit a three-run homer and finished with a career-high five RBIs, as Cleveland split with the Royals for the day with a 10-3 win to split the first day-night doubleheader in Kauffman Stadium history.

Masterson (4-2) came into the game with a 1.85 ERA, but was soundly out-pitched by Jeremy Guthrie (3-0), who kept Cleveland off the scoreboard while pitching into the seventh.

Masterson gave up seven runs on nine hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings.

"When he worked ahead and got to two strikes, he was crisp and electric," Indians manager Terry Francona said.

"He walked Moustakas on four pitches twice, and Escobar ambushed him on a first-pitch fastball, and suddenly they're up 4-to-nothing.

"His stuff was good. The walks to Moustakas were big."

Moustakas was hitting .152 when he walked on four pitches with two outs in the second inning, and Jeff Francoeur and Jarrod Dyson hit back-to-back doubles to make it 2-0.

Moustakas was still hitting .152 when he walked on four pitches in the fourth, and Francoeur and Dyson hit back-to-back singles to score another run.

"I think he had a force field around the strike zone for his first two at-bats," Masterson said. "I couldn't put it in there. I have a no clue why.

"It was unbelievable."

Moustakas singled off Masterson in the sixth and walked against Matt Albers in the seventh.

"See!" Masterson said, as if proving his theory.

"He turned the force field off for a second for a hit up the middle, and put it back on."

Escobar homered on the first pitch he saw in the fifth inning, his solo shot skirting the foul pole in left field, and the Royals wound up scoring three runs in the seventh.

Alex Gordon capped the scoring with a two-run homer off Scott Barnes in the eighth.

"The guys down the bottom of the order you want cranking your offense," Royals manager Ned Yost said, "and then it comes back around to your main guys, and that's where you score big."

The closest anybody came to scoring off Guthrie came in the second inning.

Carlos Santana sent a drive to center that hit off the green padding atop the wall.

The ball bounced back into play and was ruled a double, and the call was upheld when the umpires checked the replay. Santana was left stranded when Guthrie retired Ryan Raburn and Lonnie Chisenhall.

"It was close," Francona said. "I wish it had went about two inches further."

Guthrie allowed six hits over 6 2/3 innings for his 16th consecutive start without a loss, tying the Royals' record set by Paul Splittorff from Aug. 13, 1977-April 22, 1978.

"I knew it's been a number of starts in a row, because people kept reminding me of it," Guthrie said with a smile.

"Ultimately, it means a lot because hopefully the guys behind me when I go out are confident that we have a chance to win the game."

In the second game, the Indians scored twice off Smith in the second inning.

Aviles hit his homer in the third, and then he added sacrifice flies in the fourth and seventh innings against his former team.

Corey Kluber yielded only Chris Getz's two-run blooper in the fourth in a stellar spot start for Cleveland.

Kluber (2-0) lasted seven innings and retired his final 10 batters.

NOTES: Cleveland put C Lou Marson on the DL (right shoulder strain) and recalled C Yan Gomes and LHP Scott Barnes from Triple-A Columbus prior to the game. ... Escobar had a hit in his eighth straight game. ... Indians RHP Ubaldo Jimenez faces Royals RHP Wade Davis today the series finale.



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