KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Carlos Santana and Asdrubal Cabrera each drove in a pair of runs, and the Cleveland Indians took advantage of some wild pitching by the Kansas City Royals in a 6-5 victory Tuesday night.
Mark Reynolds and Jason Giambi also drove in runs for the Indians, who capitalized on eight walks by Royals starter Luis Mendoza and his bullpen to win their fifth straight game.
Cody Allen (3-0) earned the win in relief for Cleveland, while Chris Perez survived putting two aboard in the ninth for his eighth save of the season.
The AL Central-leading Indians led 4-0 before Alex Gordon’s grand slam in the fifth. But Royals reliever Tim Collins (2-3) walked the only two batters he faced in the seventh, Aaron Crow walked another to load the bases and Santana came through with a go-ahead sacrifice fly.
Giambi added a run-scoring double later in the seventh that proved invaluable when the Royals’ Billy Butler hit an RBI double off Vinnie Pestano to make it 6-5. David Lough came to the plate with runners on the corners, but grounded into an inning-ending double play.
It was Cleveland’s fifth win in its past six games against the Royals.
After going on a 14-5 run to close out June, the Indians (45-38) built on a four-game sweep of the White Sox by taking the opener of a three-game series from another division rival. It was their ninth win in 11 road games and put them seven games over .500 for the first time since May 24.
The Indians wasted little time getting on the board.
They loaded the bases with one out against Mendoza in the first before Santana recovered from a 0-2 count to walk in a run. Mendoza then uncorked a pitch that nicked Reynolds in the shoulder — and just barely missed his head — to force in another run.
Mendoza got out of the inning with a bases-loaded double play, but his erratic ways resulted in more trouble when the fourth inning rolled around.
This time, Mendoza gave up consecutive singles to Giambi and Lonnie Chisenhall and a one-out walk to Michael Brantley to load the bases. Cabrera slipped a single through the right side of the infield to make it 4-0 before Jason Kipnis grounded into another inning-ending double play.
Corey Kluber, who gave up seven runs without making it through the fifth his last time out, was having his way with the Royals’ still-scuffling lineup the first couple times through it.
The right-hander ran into trouble in the fifth inning.
Mike Moustakas and Lough singled and Johnny Giavotella walked to load the bases with nobody out. Jarrod Dyson flied to left field, and Moustakas thought about tagging up, but he ultimately thought better of it and scampered back to third base.
No matter: Gordon was waiting in the on-deck circle.
The Royals’ leadoff hitter was swinging on a 3-0 pitch and drilled the ball to right field, clearing the fence with ease and pulling the Royals into a 4-4 tie. It was Gordon’s second grand slam of the season and the third for Kansas City.
It was also the Royals’ biggest highlight once their bullpen started to falter.
Notes: Indians RHP Zach McAllister (sprained right middle finger) felt good after throwing 45 pitches in a bullpen session, Indians manager Terry Francona said. ... Mendoza entered the game with a 2.35 ERA in his past four home starts. ... LHP Scott Kazmir will start Game 2 of the series for Cleveland against Royals RHP Jeremy Guthrie.