KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Carlos Santana, who homered five times at Kauffman Stadium in a series last month, hit a two-run homer as the Cleveland Indians topped the Kansas City Royals 6-1 Friday night.
The loss cut the Royals’ lead to a half-game over Detroit in the AL Central.
Santana connected in the ninth inning for his 22nd home run, 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.
Danny Salazar (5-6) pitched four-hit ball for five shutout innings. He didn’t come back out after a 44-minute rain delay in the bottom of the sixth.
Jason Vargas (10-7) gave up 10 hits and four runs in six innings. In his past two starts, both losses, he has allowed 21 hits in 12 innings.
Santana also had an RBI single as he kept wrecking the Royals. He is hitting only .229 overall this year.
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.
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 Alex Gordon on a grounder.
The Royals did not score until the ninth on an RBI single by Alcides Escobar, who matched a career high with his fourth hit.
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.