CLEVELAND: It was only last Sunday that Indians manager Terry Francona put Michael Bourn in the No. 9 spot in the lineup for the first time in his career.
On Wednesday, Bourn came through with the hit that put the Indians up for good in a 7-5 win against the Kansas City Royals.
The win ended a four-game losing streak and avoided a sweep to the Royals.
After the lead changed hands a few times, the Indians (7-13) entered the bottom of the sixth inning trailing 4-3. Lonnie Chisenhall and Roberto Perez each doubled to open the inning off Royals starter Yordano Ventura, tying the score at 4-4. Bourn, still hitting ninth, roped a double of his own down the right-field line to give the Indians a 5-4 advantage.
“Bourny’s never going to hit .180. But I do think he’s taking some better swings,” Francona said. “Regardless of where he hit in the order, I think he’ll heat up. Sometimes until they do, you got him sitting there in the leadoff spot, it’s a little more glaring, especially when we’re not scoring runs.”
After Bourn advanced to third on a wild pitch, Jason Kipnis hit Bourn in with a slow ground ball to the right side to make it 6-4. Roberto Perez added a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning, his third of the season.
The Royals (14-7) jumped out to a 2-0 lead off starter Danny Salazar (3-0), who threw six innings, allowed four earned runs on six hits and struck out seven. Salazar’s fastball was hit hard in the first inning. After talking it over with Perez in the dugout, he adjusted from there.
“They were pretty aggressive looking for [the] fastball, so we started mixing the first pitch everything — curveball, slider, changeup,” Salazar said. “We tried to give them different views.”
The Indians took the lead in the bottom of the third inning when Perez and Bourn hit back-to-back singles and Jason Kipnis followed up with a three-run home run, making it 3-2. It was Kipnis’ first homer since July 31 of last season, covering a span of 67 games and 265 at-bats. Wednesday night was also the first anniversary of Kipnis straining his oblique, the injury that sidetracked his 2014 season.
“It was a nice feeling — something I haven’t felt in awhile,” Kipnis said of the homer. “There’s going to be pressure on myself to do well no matter what. But just to finally have it happen, to finally see it, is always refreshing.”
Zach McAllister relieved Salazar and threw two scoreless innings. Cody Allen came on in the ninth and allowed a run off a double by Alex Gordon and a single by Omar Infante but converted his fourth save of the season.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.