KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals didn’t have much trouble getting runners on base. They just had a tough time scoring runs.
The Royals stranded 12 men on base, went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position and failed to score until the ninth inning in a 6-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and Salvador Perez went a combined 1 for 14 as Royals starter Danny Salazar threw five scoreless innings, but did not come back out after a 44-minute rain delay in the sixth.
“Salazar was throwing 96 miles per hour fastball and spotting it well,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We just couldn’t get anything going offensively.”
Alcides Escobar had four of the Royals’ nine hits and drove in Christian Colon in the ninth for their lone run. The loss cut Kansas City’s lead to a half-game over Detroit in the AL Central.
Cleveland’s Carlos Santana, who homered five times at Kauffman Stadium in a series last month, hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning. It was his 22nd home run, and helped Cleveland win for the fifth time in six games.
Boosted by his big four-game set in July, Santana is 14 for 26 with six homers, 13 RBIs and a 1.269 slugging percentage this year in Kansas City. Santana, who also had an RBI single, is hitting only .229 overall this year.
Salazar (5-6) pitched four-hit ball for five shutout innings.
Jason Vargas (10-7) gave up 10 hits and four runs in six innings.
Zach Walters hit an RBI double in the second to put Cleveland ahead.
Tyler Bolt led off the Indians’ three-run third with a bunt single. Santana and Jose Ramirez had RBI singles and Michael Brantley, who had three hits, scored on Jeff Kipnis’ groundout.
“Those two innings need to be tightened up more than they were,” Vargas said.
Salazar gave up four singles, walked two and struck out three in five innings. After his exit, there was a parade of six Cleveland relievers, with left-handers Kyle Crockett and Marc Rzepczynski each throwing just one pitch.
Crockett hit Mike Moustakas and Rzepczynski retired Gordon on a grounder.
Indians: C Yan Gomes was activated from the concussion list after missing six games. … OF David Murphy (strained right oblique) took batting practice. … C-IF Chris Gimenez was placed on the paternity list.
Royals: 1B Eric Hosmer (broken right hand) will report Saturday to Triple-A Omaha to begin a minor league rehab assignment. … 2B Omar Infante (right shoulder inflammation) was not in the lineup for the fourth straight game.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer, who gave up four hits and struck out nine in six scoreless innings in beating Houston in his previous start, will start the middle game of this series.
Royals: RHP James Shields has won his past three starts against the Indians with a 1.80 ERA in that 20-inning span.
The Royals designated LHP Bruce Chen for assignment one day after he gave up six runs on five hits, three for extra-bases, and two walks in the 10th inning of a loss to Minnesota. This was Chen’s sixth season with the Royals and he led the club in victories in three straight seasons, 2010-12. “He’s been here a long time,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “I’ve watched him win a bunch of ball games. His presence on the field well as well off the field has been great for all of us.” RHP Louis Coleman was summoned from Triple-A Omaha, taking Chen’s roster spot.
Escobar matched a career high with four hits, his fourth career four hit game. His previous was Aug. 18, 2012 against the White Sox.