CLEVELAND: A day later, the Indians made up for all those line drives that didn’t fall in Friday night’s blowout loss to the Kansas City Royals. The hits fell plenty on Saturday.
The Tribe’s hitters regained confidence with a 7-3 victory over the Royals, giving rookie pitcher T.J. House his first major-league win in his seventh start.
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie, a former Tribe first-round draft pick, allowed six runs on 11 hits in four-plus innings Saturday at Progressive Field.
Left-hander House tiptoed around base runners a majority of the way through his 6⅔-inning outing while limiting the damage to three runs on nine hits.
After the Royals jumped out to a 1-0 lead just two batters into the first inning, the Indians’ bats came alive against Guthrie with three runs in each of the third and fifth innings.
Michael Bourn put the Tribe on the board with a leadoff homer to right field in the third inning to tie the score 1-1. But before Guthrie could escape the inning, the Indians tacked on two more runs with a Jason Kipnis RBI double off the left center-field wall followed by Lonnie Chisenhall’s run-scoring single that gave the Indians a 3-1 advantage.
In the fifth inning, struggling Nick Swisher turned the crowd’s boos into loud cheers. He had struck out in his first two at-bats, but Swisher strolled to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs and shook off his rough start with a two-run single up the middle.
The clutch hit not only snapped Swisher’s drought at the plate, but also sent Guthrie to the showers after a mere four innings.
David Murphy greeted left-handed reliever Francisley Bueno with a flare into shallow center field that scored Chisenhall and padded the Indians’ lead to five runs.
The visitors returned the favor in the top of the next inning, using three consecutive singles to open the sixth, but House held the damage to an Omar Infante run-scoring fielder’s choice.
Kansas City pulled a run closer after Danny Valencia led off the seventh inning with a home run that cut the deficit in half at 6-3.
Two outs later, Tribe manager Terry Francona let House leave the mound to a standing ovation and called on veteran reliever Bryan Shaw to finish off the inning with the top of Royals order due up.
Murphy did all the work, however, with his running, diving, laid-out catch that robbed Lorenzo Cain of extra bases to end the inning.
The Tribe tacked on an eighth-inning insurance run via a Michael Brantley RBI single that may have seemed insignificant at the time, but sure provided some needed padding when closer Cody Allen turned a non-save situation into a harrowing one after loading the bases with no outs.
But Allen rebounded to strike out Cain and induced Eric Hosmer into a game-ending double play.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.