Chisenhall's first slam lifts Indians over Royals
CLEVELAND -- The timing of Lonnie Chisenhall's first grand slam could not have been better. Chisenhall's sixth-inning blast turned a 1-0 lead into a 5-0 advantage and the Cleveland Indians went on to a 5-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir (5-4) pitched into the seventh inning to get the win, but Chisenhall's slam that was the biggest moment in the game.
"Kaz pitched really well and deserved the win. I'm just happy I could help out," Chisenhall said. "This is the best feeling of my career."
Cleveland won its third straight game and Kansas City lost its fourth in a row.
The Indians appeared to blow the game open with the four-run sixth, but the Royals climbed back into it with a three-run seventh.
With the Indians leading 1-0, Jason Kipnis led off the bottom of the sixth with a single against Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie (8-7). Nick Swisher struck out, but Michael Brantley doubled Kipnis to third.
Kansas City manager Ned Yost chose to intentionally walk the next batter, Carlos Santana.
"You've got a tough decision there," Yost said. "Santana has 51 walks. You can pitch around the guy, but he's going to take a walk. Make a mistake there and he's going to make you pay."
Guthrie then struck out Jason Giambi for the second out. But Chisenhall belted Guthrie's first pitch over the wall in right field for his first career grand slam, giving Cleveland a 5-0 lead.
"I was looking for something I could get the barrel on and he threw me a curveball that I saw in my last at-bat," Chisenhall said.
Guthrie said, "I wanted to throw it for a strike, but it was hit for a home run, so it wasn't a good pitch."
Indians manager Terry Francona said, "It was a breaking ball, Lonnie jumped on it, and he really spread it out for us."
Chisenhall was demoted to triple-A Columbus earlier in the season because he was struggling at the plate, but in 28 at-bats in the first nine games of the 10-game homestand, he is hitting .333 with two home runs, three doubles and eight RBI.
"Sitting in the eight hole, if he starts swinging the bat like that, it makes our lineup completely different," Francona said.
Kazmir held Kansas City scoreless on four hits in the first six innings, but he walked the first two batters in the seventh. Kazmir retired Mike Moustakas on a popout to catcher Yan Gomes and then was replaced by Matt Albers.
Miguel Tejada greeted Albers with an RBI single to make it 5-1. The runners moved up to second and third when David Lough grounded out to first, and Albers intentionally walked left-handed hitting Alex Gordon in order to pitch to right-handed hitting Alcides Escobar.
Escobar sent a dribbler to short and not only beat the throw to first for a hit but two runs scored and the Cleveland lead was down to 5-3. Rich Hill, the third pitcher of the inning, relieved Albers and struck out Eric Hosmer to end the inning.
Vinnie Pestano pitched the eighth for Cleveland and closer Chris Perez worked the ninth to pick up his 12th save.
Guthrie was the Indians' first-round pick in the June 2002 amateur draft but never won a game for Cleveland. In the first two innings, Guthrie gave up two hits and a walk and hit a batter, but he managed to hold Cleveland scoreless. He wasn't as fortunate in the third inning.
Bourn led off the Cleveland third with a single and he raced to third on a single by Asdrubal Cabrera. Kipnis' sacrifice fly drove in Bourn with the first run of the game.
Kazmir held Kansas City scoreless through the first five innings on three hits. The Royals' best chance to score to that point came in the fourth when Hosmer and Billy Butler both singled to start the inning. But Kazmir got Salvador Perez to ground into a double play and then retired Lorenzo Cain on a ground ball to end that inning.
NOTES: Before the game, the Royals recalled LHP Everett Teaford from Triple-A Omaha, where he was 3-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 23 games, nine of them starts. ... To make room on the roster for Teaford, the Royals optioned LHP Donnie Joseph to Omaha. ... Brantley, who batted leadoff on Friday, was No. 5 in the batting order on Saturday. Brantley this season has hit in every spot in the order except ninth. ... Indians INF/DH Mark Reynolds, hitting .091 with three hits and 17 strikeouts in 33 at-bats in July, was given a night off.