KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Cleveland Indians' offense started too late.
The Indians scored four runs in the final three innings and Carlos Santana struck out with the bases loaded to finish off a 5-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals on a cold and blustery Tuesday night.
Left-hander Bruce Chen (3-0) limited Cleveland to two singles over the first six innings, allowing Kansas City to build a five-run lead against Jeanmar Gomez. Chen finished with seven innings of two-run ball, allowing six hits and three walks.
``We got behind the 8-ball and had to come back,' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ``We started our comeback late. Chen held us pretty good. It took us too long to get to Chen, to figure him out and we were down five by then. I liked the fight that we put up at the end.'
The Indians might have pulled this one out if not for Alex Gordon's diving catch on pinch-hitter Grady Sizemore's one-out liner in the ninth.
``Gordon pretty much saved the game on that very nice play on Grady down the left-field line,' Acta said.
Shin-Soo Choo forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk against Royals closer Joakim Soria, but Santana looked at three consecutive pitches to end the game.
``He's a very good hitter and he was facing a good pitcher,' Acta said. ``Soria made three pitches there right on the black. I think everybody wants him to swing the bat, but you also have to take your hat off sometime to the pitcher.'
Gomez, who was making his first start after going 2-0 with a 1.41 ERA with Triple-A Columbus, was roughed up for five runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings.
``I wasn't nervous,' Gomez said. ``I need to be more aggressive in the zone. I was up with my pitches.'
Gordon also had two hits to stretch his hitting streak to 13 games.
Chen cruised into the seventh with a 5-0 lead, and hadn't allowed an earned run in 20 innings. But Orlando Cabrera and Austin Kearns hit one-out singles, and Lou Marson followed with a two-run double.
Michael Brantley singled into shallow left field with two down, and Marson, trying to score from second, was out at the plate on a strong throw from Gordon.
Kansas City took the lead with two runs in the third inning. Chris Getz hit a run-scoring triple and scored on Melky Cabrera's grounder.
Alcides Escobar hit an RBI single in the fourth, and the Royals added two more in the fifth when Gordon doubled in Cabrera and scored on Jeff Francoeur's single.
Santana had an RBI single off Blake Wood in the eighth, and Brantley finished with three hits.
NOTES: The loss kept the first-place Indians from moving to 13-4 for the first time since 1988. ... The Royals and Indians came into the game ranked 1-2 in the AL in hitting.
The Associated Press News Service
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