CLEVELAND — The Indians have endured plenty of bad breaks over the first two and a half months. Tuesday night at Progressive Field, one actually went their way.
Leading by a run with runners on first and second, one out and right-hander Vinnie Pestano on the mound, Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar delivered what appeared to be the game-tying single.
Another implosion from Cleveland’s bullpen was derailed, though, when Akron native David Lough ran through the stop sign at third base and was caught in a run down that ultimately ended with the Indians getting an out on the runner behind Lough, Mike Moustakas.
Had Lough kept coming to the plate, the throw from right fielder Drew Stubbs was off-line and he likely would have scored. As it stood, Pestano retired the following batter for his third save and a 4-3 Indians win.
“I thought I just blew the game, to be honest,” said Pestano, who admitted he was surprised K.C. third base coach Eddie Rodriguez was attempting to hold Lough. “I guess it was better to be lucky than good tonight.”
The Indians will take a win anyway they can get it these days. Falling out of second place and under .500 with a loss to Kansas City in the series opener Monday, Cleveland reclaimed the second spot and gained a game on first-place Detroit, which it trails by 4½ games in the Central Division standings.
The Royals lost for just the third time in 14 games.
The Indians trailed all the way until they scored three times in the eighth inning off K.C.’s bullpen, which took over after a sparkling seven-inning effort from starter Ervin Santana.
A one-out double from Jason Kipnis tied the game, with Michael Brantley’s sacrifice fly scoring Mike Aviles with the go-ahead run.
“We about did everything tonight except lose,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We were down 2-0 but it seemed like more. There’s something to say for just playing a full nine innings.
“Having said that, I might go over to the casino tonight in full uniform.”
Neither starting pitcher figured in the decision, with the Indians getting a short stint from right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who allowed two runs on two hits and four walks over 5⅔ innings.
“It was kind of a weird line,” Francona said. “He threw a lot of pitches (114). Saying that, he gave up two. He never gave in.”
Jimenez (5-4, 4.66 ERA) allowed both of his runs without surrendering a hit in the third inning.
He walked two, with a pair of wild pitches contributing to the K.C. runs, actually scoring one, as catcher Carlos Santana continues to struggle blocking the ball.
“I lost my rhythm in that inning,” Jimenez said of the third. “I threw too many pitches, but after that, I was able to keep the game close.”
The Indians mustered just a run on three hits off Santana. They scored off the right-hander in the sixth on a two-out base hit from Aviles.
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