KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - After a robust August, September didn't start so well for Kansas City Royals left-hander Bruce Chen.
Chen, who reeled off a career-best five consecutive wins last month, was touched for eight hits and five runs through six innings Friday night in the Royals' 5-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
Chen allowed homers to Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Donald as the Indians raced to a 5-0 lead through four innings and held off a strong Kansas City comeback.
``I'm not going to say that I didn't have my best stuff,' Chen said. ``That's not a fair comment to (the Indians). I felt like I made good pitches. They just had a real good approach. I battled and I went six innings. I tried to give my team a chance to win and we almost caught up to them.'
Chen (10-6) is now 6-2 against the AL Central with a 2.92 ERA.
Indians right-hander Justin Masterson (11-8) allowed seven hits and four runs. The Indians (69-66) equaled last year's win total and remained 5 1/2 games behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central.
When Masterson and Chen matched up in Cleveland last Sunday, it was Chen who had the upper hand in a 2-1 Kansas City victory.
Not this time.
``Both home runs were on pitches that were up,' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ``It was one of those nights when (Chen) struggled to get the ball down.'
Both teams lost their starting shortstops during the game. After Cleveland's Cabrera left in the third with a left knee contusion, Kansas City's Alcides Escobar suffered a left ankle sprain in the seventh while trying to beat out a bunt.
Escobar's left foot came down directly on first baseman Carlos Santana's foot and Escobar hobbled to the dugout.
``Santana was struggling to find the bag,' Yost said. ``He got his foot right in the middle of the bag. Esky had no place to step. He rolled it. The trainers think it's a grade-1 sprain, which is the best you could hope for. It might be a day or two. We'll just see how he responds.'
The Indians went to work in the first, producing two runs on three hits. Santana's run-scoring double and an RBI single by Jim Thome put the Royals in a hole that would get much deeper.
Cleveland struck again in the third against Chen. A leadoff single by Kosuke Fukudome and Cabrera's two-run homer that barely eluded the outstretched glove of a leaping Alex Gordon in left staked Masterson to a 4-0 lead.
Donald homered in the fourth before the Royals made a bid to climb out of a five-run hole. Kansas City used a run-scoring single by Escobar in the fifth and a sacrifice fly by Eric Hosmer in the sixth to close to 5-2.
The Royals applied more pressure in the seventh when Gordon launched a two-run homer to straightaway center. Gordon now has 20 homers hitting primarily in the leadoff spot. He is hitting .329 over his last 64 games with 52 runs scored.
``The guy has impressed me about as much as he can with the year he has had,' Yost said.
Notes: Indians manager Manny Acta said the club is still weighing options regarding right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who has been on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation. In response to a Venezuelan newspaper report in which Indians minor leaguer Hector Rondon said his countryman Carrasco might need Tommy John surgery, Acta said: ``As far as I know, we're still gathering information and different opinions on Carrasco. We haven't made the decision just yet.' ... Royals C Salvador Perez was back in the lineup after missing one game with a sprained pinkie finger on his right (throwing) hand. Perez hurt the finger on a play at the plate Wednesday against the Tigers. ... The Indians recalled RHP Josh Judy from Triple-A Columbus. In three previous stints with the Indians this year, Judy had a 2.25 ERA over four combined innings. ... David Huff (2-2) takes the mound for Cleveland on Saturday against Kansas City's Luke Hochevar (9-10).
The Associated Press News Service
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