December 19, 2014

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Indians fall to Royals again as Zach McAllister wastes big lead

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach McAllister throws during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach McAllister throws during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In his return to the Cleveland rotation, Zach McAllister looked more like he did in May than in April.

That didn’t bode well for the Indians.

McAllister failed to hold an early five-run lead as Billy Butler homered for the second straight game and the Kansas City Royals beat the Indians 7-5 Saturday night for their fifth straight win.

McAllister, just brought up from Triple-A Columbus after going 5-0 with a 2.23 ERA, faced 22 batters and 10 reached base. After starting the season 3-0, he is 0-6 in nine starts.

McAllister was sent down after posting a 10.67 ERA in May.

“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.

“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. He was having a hard time getting his secondary pitches over. If 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.”

They don’t need the one who was roughed up by the Royals.

“In my last start at Triple-A and my last start up here, I had a really good mix,” McAllister said. “Today I didn’t do that. I have to do that. I have to mix my pitches. I’ve got to get into my secondary stuff and throw those pitches for strikes.”

A day after his pinch-hit, two-run homer in the eighth inning beat Cleveland, Butler connected for a tiebreaking shot in the fifth. It was 5-5 when he tagged Nick Hagadone for a drive over the Royals bullpen in left field.

Carlos Santana hit his third homer in two games for Cleveland, which has lost six of seven.

Jeremy Guthrie (6-9) won despite giving up five runs, 10 hits and two walks in 5 2-3 innings. Greg Holland, the fourth Kansas City reliever, earned his 27th save in 29 chances.

McAllister (3-6) gave up a single to Salvador Perez to start the fifth and was replaced by Hagadone.

Guthrie had lost his previous three starts. He has an 8.44 ERA in three outings this season against the Indians.

The Indians scored five times in the second. Santana led off with a home run and Jason Kipnis broke an 0-for-11 rut with a two-run double.

Santana is 12-for-25 with six RBIs in his last six games.

Omar Infante had an RBI grounder in the third, and the Royals tied it with four more in fourth. Nori Aoki hit a two-run triple with two outs and scored on a passed ball to tie it.

Notable

  • Indians 3B Lonnie Chisenhall was scratched from the lineup because of an illness.
  • Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera hasn’t played since Monday because of back spasms.
  • Aoki batted first for the Royals after hitting in the bottom third of the order for seven games since being activated from the disabled list on July 11.
  • The Indians optioned RHP Josh Tomlin, who was 5-7 with a 4.47 ERA, to Triple-A Columbus.
  • Royals LHP Bruce Chen will make his seventh start today and his third since coming off the disabled list June 24.
  • The Indians are 0-5 this season at Kauffman Stadium.
  • Santana has reached base in 16 consecutive games and is hitting .522 in a six-game hitting streak.


TODAY

WHO: Cleveland vs. Kansas City
TIME: 2:10
WHERE: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
PITCHERS: Salazar (2-4, 5.12 ERA) vs. Chen (2-2, 5.80)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM