The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY — Carlos Santana hit a home run and All-Star Michael Brantley added three hits as the Indians defeated Central Division-leading Kansas City 6-1 Friday.
Santana (2-for-4, 3 RBIs) broke open the score for Cleveland (69-64) with a two-run home run in the third inning. Brantley was 3-for-5, while Jose Ramirez and Yan Gomes also had multihit nights.
Danny Salazar (5-6, 4.23 ERA) pitched five shutout innings while striking out three, and five relievers combined to scatter two hits over the next three frames before Josh Tomlin allowed an RBI single to Alcides Escboar (4-for-5) in the ninth.
The Royals (74-60), who saw Jason Vargas (10-7) take the loss, lead Cleveland by 4½ games in the Central Division.
Prior to the game, the Indians reunited with slugger Russell Branyan, signing him to a minor league deal for the remainder of the season.
The 38-year-old Branyan has spent part of six seasons (1998-2002, 2010) with Cleveland. He’s played for Tijuana in the Mexican League this season, hitting 19 homers with 59 RBIs. The Indians have assigned Branyan to Triple-A Columbus for the remainder of 2014.
A seventh-round pick by Cleveland in 1994, the free-swinging Branyan has hit 194 career home runs — 55 with Cleveland — in the majors. He was once regarded as one of the top prospects in the Indians’ organization.
Also Friday, the Indians activated Gomes from the seven-day concussion list and put him in the lineup.
Gomes suffered concussion symptoms after taking a baseball off his mask Aug. 21 at Minnesota. Gomes entered the night hitting .284 with 21 doubles, 17 home runs and 53 RBIs in 109 games. His .477 slugging percentage ranked 12th in the AL.
The Indians placed infielder-catcher Chris Gimenez on the three-day paternity list.