Royals rally from five down to top Indians
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie had a shaky start, but a winning finish.
Guthrie gave up five runs in the second, but nothing more, and first baseman Billy Butler belted a two-run homer as the Kansas City Royals rallied from a five-run deficit to beat the Cleveland Indians 7-5 on Saturday.
Guthrie (6-9) allowed just three more hits in the next 3 2/3 innings after the Indians' big second to pick up the victory, snapping his personal three-game losing streak.
"Jeremy's pitching performance was really impressive," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He had a really good first inning and the second inning he gave up five runs. He was getting burned on his off-speed stuff.
"At that point, I had a real strong sense we were going to find a way to get back in this game. That was about all he could give up. We had Bruce (Chen, the Sunday starter) down in the bullpen on ready alert if Jeremy continued to struggle in the third or fourth to try to keep that score right there and allow us to crawl back in the game.
"Jeremy came out and did a phenomenal job in the third, fourth, fifth and even after we got the lead to get two outs in the sixth, which was huge."
Butler's two-run homer in the fifth put the Royals ahead to stay.
Guthrie was removed with two outs in the sixth after 105 pitches.
"Skip said, 'If you hold it right there, we have a chance to win this game,'" Guthrie said. "I can't say I really believed him, but I knew holding them there was certainly the best-case scenario for the team in all regard. To see them come back and get big hits, just huge, huge hits offensively.
"When you're down 5-0, it's easy for the offense to get frustrated, but tonight we did not do that."
Relievers Scott Downs, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland held the Indians scoreless after Guthrie's departure. Holland notched his 27th save, striking out two in a perfect ninth.
Cleveland right-hander Zach McAllister (3-6), who was just recalled from Triple-A Columbus, suffered the loss and is winless since April 21, when he beat the Royals.
First baseman Carlos Santana led off the Indians' five-run second inning with his 18th home run of the season and his third in two games.
The Tribe sent 11 men to the plate in the inning and scored four runs with two outs against Guthrie. Third baseman Mike Aviles drove in a run with a single and second baseman Jeff Kipnis contributed a two-run double.
The Royals got a run in the third when shortstop Alcides Escobar opened the inning with a single, moved to third on designated hitter Nori Aoki's single and scored on second baseman Omar Infante's groundout.
In the fourth inning, the Royals sent eight men to the plate and four scored. Aoki had the big hit, a two-run triple with two outs, and then scored on a passed ball charged to catcher Yan Gomes. Escobar's single scored third baseman Mike Moustakas, who led off with a walk, for the first run of the inning.
McAllister was pulled after giving up a leadoff single to catcher Salvador Perez to open the fifth inning. He was replaced by left-hander Nick Hagadone, who promptly gave up a two-run homer to Butler, who hit a winning two-run homer in the eighth inning Friday.
"I felt good early on," McAllister said. "I was able to get some quick outs and some strikeouts. I got a big groundout (in the third). It was just what I needed. I was really pleased with that. When they scored those runs, I just kind of fell behind. I wasn't able to mix when I needed to, and they were able to put the ball in play."
McAllister, who is winless in nine big league starts since an April 21 victory over the Royals, yielded six runs (five earned) and eight hits, with his ERA inflating to 5.65.
"I didn't think he got hit hard," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I thought he was up on a lot of his pitches. When we scored five, he came out the next inning and gave up two 0-2 hits. They weren't hit hard, but the pitches were elevated. In the fourth inning, he had a leadoff walk. He couldn't get the ball down enough, so they were able to fight off balls. The triple was obviously a big blow.
"He was having a hard time getting his secondary pitches over. If he's not throwing them for strikes, they're not going to help. I actually think when he's throwing his fastball and he's locating it, it's a really good pitch. That's what makes Zach the pitcher we need."
NOTES: The Indians optioned RHP Josh Tomlin to Triple-A Columbus to make roster room for RHP Zach McAllister. Tomlin was the losing pitcher Friday, allowing four runs and six hits, two of them homers, in 5 1/3 innings against the Royals. In his final eight starts, he went 1-5, dropping his record to 5-7 with a 4.47 ERA. ... 3B Lonnie Chisenhall was a late scratch from the Indians' lineup because of an illness. He was replaced by Mike Aviles, who hit .325 as a rookie in 2008 for the Royals. ... 1B Eric Hosmer was not in the Royals' lineup for the fifth time in six games because of a bruised right hand.