CLEVELAND (AP) — Will Smith celebrated his first major league win by taking four showers.
Two by teammates dousing him with beer and two more to rinse off the suds.
“I’m very clean,” he said, “and very happy.”
Smith survived a shaky start and pitched six innings for his first win and Mike Moustakas had a career-best four RBIs, leading the Kansas City Royals to an 8-2 win over Cleveland on Tuesday night., bouncing the Indians out of first place in the AL Central for the first time in 28 days.
Moustakas hit a two-run homer off Justin Masterson (2-4) in the first inning and singled in two runs in the second as the Royals built a 7-2 lead for Smith (1-1).
That was more than enough support for the left-hander, who allowed two runs and four hits and rebounded nicely after being thumped by the New York Yankees in his big-league debut last week. Afterward, the humble 22-year-old was stunned by the moment.
“It’s just awesome,” said Smith, who was in the clubhouse for the final three innings. “An amazing feeling. You think of what it will be like your whole life. Just getting to the big leagues, and then to win? It’s a dream come true.”
Humberto Quintero added two RBIs as the Royals, despite three errors and 12 strikeouts, improved to 15-11 on the road.
Masterson, who beat Detroit ace Justin Verlander in his previous start, allowed seven earned runs in six innings.
The Indians have dropped four of five since sweeping the Tigers last week. Following the game, Indians manager Manny Acta opened his remarks by commenting on his team’s flat performance.
“I must confess, that had to be the most boring game I have ever been part of,” he said. “That second inning just sucked all the energy out of us.”
Smith took the mound with a 2-0 lead but quickly found trouble, walking the first two hitters he faced before giving up a single to load the bases. Smith limited the damage to two runs and gained strength as he went along. After he allowed two singles in the third, the only Cleveland player to reach — on a throwing error by third baseman Moustakas — was erased on a double play.
Smith walked two and struck out five.
“I just got mad and went after them,” he said. “It sure helps when your offense puts up some runs. I can’t thank them enough.”
Royals manager Ned Yost said he nearly pulled Smith in the first.
“It was real shaky, so much so that I had (Vin) Mazzaro warming up,” Yost said. “If it gets to four (runs), I’m getting him. I didn’t want to do it. Then he got after it. Getting the lead helped him regain composure and he pretty much said, ‘Enough of this.’ And he went right after people.”
Masterson trailed 7-2 after two innings but, like Smith, the right-hander found his groove and finished with no walks and eight strikeouts, his most since fanning 10 on Opening Day.
“It’s always one inning,” Masterson said.
Most of the pregame discussion centered around Cleveland closer Chris Perez’s gesture toward Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson in the ninth inning of Monday’s series opener.
Perez, who irked the Royals with comments earlier this season, celebrated a strikeout of Dyson by waving his hand — “You can’t see me” — in front of his face. Dyson was annoyed by Perez’s antics and was looking forward to getting even with the right-hander. That matchup never materialized as the Royals built a large lead and rolled.
Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera went 1 for 4 as the DH after missing three consecutive games with a tight hamstring.
By the end of the second inning, Moustakas already had his four RBIs and was looking for more. After connecting for his eighth homer in the first, his two-run single capped a five-run outburst in the second off Masterson as the Royals opened a five-run lead.
Kansas City used small-ball tactics — a single, hit batter and sacrifice — to set things up before Quintero, Alex Gordon and Johnny Giavotella delivered RBI singles. Moustakas just missed hitting a three-run homer — the umpires left the field to review his shot to right — before his base hit made it 7-2.
Moustakas was batting just .115 (3 of 26) on the road trip before his homer in the first. With Giavotella on with a fielder’s choice, Moustakas drove Masterson’s 3-1 pitch over the wall in right-center to make it 2-0.
Moustakas could have accepted some of the credit for getting Smith his first win, but he passed the praise off to his young teammate.
“It’s a big night for Will,” he said. “That’s what today is all about. It was a lot of fun watching him get his first major league victory.”
The Indians tied it in their half on RBIs by Jose Lopez and Michael Brantley, and Cleveland seemed to have Smith reeling. But the smooth lefty, who lasted just 3 1-3 innings in his debut at Yankee Stadium, retired Aaron Cunningham on a pop out before striking out Lonnie Chisenhall.