CLEVELAND — Michael Brantley’s sacrifice fly capped Cleveland’s three-run eighth inning, rallying the Indians to a 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
Held to one run and three hits over seven innings by Ervin Santana, the Indians finally strung something together in the eighth off Kelvin Herrera (3-5) and Tim Collins. Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis delivered RBI hits before Brantley drove in Mike Aviles with the go-ahead run.
Cody Allen (2-0), whose throwing error in the eighth helped the Royals take a 3-1 lead, got the win. Vinnie Pestano gave up three singles and a walk in the ninth but held on for his second save.
The Royals lost for just the third time in 14 games and missed a chance to move over .500 for the first time since May 18.
They probably should have tied it in the ninth when Alcides Escobar singled to right with one out and runners at first and second. But David Lough ran past third base coach Eddie Rodriguez’s stop sign, and got caught in a rundown between home and third.
Lough got back to the bag safely, but Mike Moustakas was also there and was tagged out.
Pestano settled down and got Eric Hosmer on a groundout with the bases loaded as the Indians got their 10th come-from-behind win.
The Indians did next to nothing against Santana, but they pounced on Kansas City’s bullpen in the eighth.
Ryan Raburn drew a leadoff walk from Herrera, moved up on a groundout and scored when Bourn slapped a single inside the left-field line.
Aviles followed with a single and Kipnis, who stranded seven runners in a 2-1 loss on Monday night, delivered an RBI double off Collins to tie it. The Royals walked Carlos Santana intentionally to load the bases and Brantley hit a fly ball to right, easily scoring Aviles.
Before the comeback, the Indians were in danger of falling another game behind Kansas City in the AL Central.
Santana deserved a better outcome. The right-hander made it look easy against an Indians lineup that was in a deep offensive funk.
Santana pitched the only no-hitter in Progressive Field history in 2011 for the Angels didn’t allow a runner to reach second base until the sixth and had Cleveland’s hitters guessing most of the night.
Ubaldo Jimenez’s wildness helped the Royals take a 2-0 lead in the third without benefit of a hit.
He walked No. 9 hitter Escobar and Alex Gordon to start the inning and then uncorked a wild pitch, advancing the runners to second and third. Hosmer followed with an RBI groundout, and with Salvador Perez batting, Jimenez bounced another pitch in the dirt that got away from Santana, scoring Gordon.
The Indians came in leading the AL with 38 wild pitches, 29 of them with Santana behind the plate.
Before the game, manager Terry Francona defended Santana’s ability to block pitches. On Monday night, the Royals scored the go-ahead run in the eighth on a wild pitch from Bryan Shaw that Santana let go through his legs.
“We have some guys (pitchers) who have balls that are moving all over the place,” Francona said. “He (Santana) is very athletic. He moves laterally about as good as anybody you’re going to see.”
Unable to get anything going for the first five innings against Santana, the Indians closed to 2-1 in the sixth on Aviles’ two-out RBI single.
But the Indians gave back an unearned run in the eighth.
Hosmer led off with a comebacker to Allen, who fielded the ball cleanly but fired it past first baseman Mark Reynolds. The ball rolled down the track along the first-base line, and Hosmer hustled into third with a headfirst dive. Perez followed with an RBI single to make it 3-1.