CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cleveland Indians fell from first place. Their manager nearly fell asleep.
Down by five runs before their second at-bat, the Indians couldn't muster any offense against rookie Will Smith and lost 8-2 on Tuesday night to the Kansas City Royals, who bounced Cleveland out of the top spot in the AL Central for the first time in 28 days.
``That had to be the most boring game I have ever been a part of,' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ``Everything happened in the first two innings. It was pathetic. That second inning just sucked the energy out of everybody.'
Smith, staked to a 7-2 lead in the second inning, survived a shaky start and pitched six innings for his first win and Mike Moustakas had a career-best four RBIs off Justin Masterson (2-4) as the Royals rolled.
With the Chicago White Sox winning their seventh straight game, a run that includes a three-game sweep of Cleveland, the Indians dropped into second place. They had been on top of the division since April 22.
Moustakas hit a two-run homer off Masterson in the first inning and singled in two runs in the second as the Royals built a five-run cushion for Smith (1-1), 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 twice doused with beer in the clubhouse after the game. ``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.'
Masterson, who beat Detroit ace Justin Verlander in his previous start, allowed seven earned runs in six innings, didn't walk a batter and struck out eight. But a five-run second inning sealed his fate.
``There was some craziness going on in the second inning,' said Masterson, who became the first Cleveland pitcher since Greg Swindell in 1990 to strike out at least eight while allowing at least eight runs. ``A couple hits in the infield, a couple of this, that and the other. It's always one inning.'
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.
``We let the kid Smith off the hook,' Acta said. ``We got in too deep of a hole.'
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 for the first time this season and his most strikeouts since fanning 10 on Opening Day.
Yost said the Royals were fortunate to get to Masterson early.
``He's one of the best pitchers in the league,' Yost said. ``It's lucky we got some runs early. That gave Will a chance to settle down.'
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.
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.
Notes: Indians C Luke Carlin became the first Cleveland player to reach base on three errors in a game since Walt ``No Neck' Williams did it on Sept. 11, 1973. ... Smith was originally signed by Angels scout Tom Kotchman, father of Indians 1B Casey Kotchman. ... Indians OF Grady Sizemore, still recovering from back surgery, was impressed with Brantley's incredible catch a few days ago in Chicago. ``Great catch,' Sizemore said of Brantley's leaping over-the-wall grab. ``It's one of those things I used to be able to do.' ... Indians DH Travis Hafner missed his sixth straight game with a sore right knee.
The Associated Press News Service
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