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Chen, Royals avoid sweep in Cleveland

Aug 29, 2011 - 2:17 AM Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Bruce Chen dominated Cleveland after a shaky first inning, helping the Kansas City Royals put another damper on the Indians' fleeting playoff hopes in a 2-1 victory at Progressive Field.

Chen (10-5) allowed the Indians to load the bases with nobody out in the opening inning, but limited the damage to one run and didn't allow another runner to reach second in his 7 1/3-inning start.

The lefty allowed five hits and two walks while striking out four to post his second straight 10-win season. Joakim Soria earned his 24th save with a perfect ninth in the Royals' 50th one-run game this year (22-28).

Billy Butler went 3-for-5 with the game-winning run, while Mike Moustakas extended his hit streak to 11 with the go-ahead single in the third.

Justin Masterson (10-8) was a hard-luck loser for the Indians, who now find themselves 6 1/2 games back of the Tigers in the AL Central. Although the Indians had won Masterson's last six starts, he was dealt the loss despite giving up only two runs on nine hits in six innings.

"Great effort by Masterson and the bullpen," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "He made pitches when he had to. He had traffic throughout the game, but made some good pitches. Our bullpen came in and did a good job."

The Indians were seeking their first series sweep since taking three from the Pirates in mid-June, but instead fell to their seventh loss in 10 games.

Jim Thome, whom the Indians admitted will not play every day down the stretch, didn't start for the first time in the three games since his acquisition. He pinch-hit in the eighth and struck out on three pitches.

Masterson started out slowly, as well, allowing Kansas City to load the bases with nobody out in the opening inning. Like Cleveland, the Royals managed only one run.

Carlos Santana tied the game in the home half with a no-out, bases loaded walk, but the Indians squandered their best opportunity of the game when Shelley Duncan fouled out and Kosuke Fukudome grounded into an inning-ending double play.

"Our first inning basically killed us," Acta said. "We let them off the hook right there. (Chen) got into a good rhythm. After the first three hitters, I didn't think we had the right approach against him."

The missed opportunity loomed large for the Indians, who went hitless for the final six innings. The Royals took the lead for good in the third when Butler singled, moved to third with two outs and scored on Moustakas' single through the infield.

Cleveland wasted a two-out single in the second and the third, and Ezequiel Carrera was caught stealing after a one-out walk in the fifth.

Jerad Head, making his major league debut on Sunday for the Indians, reached to begin the eighth when right fielder Jeff Francoeur dropped a fly ball in the sun, but Chen and Greg Holland combined to retire the next three batters with ease.

With the injuries mounting, the Indians' offense continues to struggle and take them out of the playoff race. Head's call-up was made after outfielder Michael Brantley was transferred to the 60-day disabled list, effectively ending his season. In the last 10 games, Cleveland has scored two or fewer runs six times.

Other than Brantley, pitcher Josh Tomlin and designated hitter Travis Hafner have hit the disabled list this past week, while outfielder Shin-Soo Choo left Saturday's game and did not play on Sunday. They joined outfielder Grady Sizemore, second baseman Jason Kipnis and pitcher Carlos Carrasco as the host of players who are currently out of action for the fading Tribe.

Game Notes

The Indians have still taken 10 of the 15 matchups with the Royals this year...The Royals have won the last five starts by Chen, who has two straight 10-win seasons after only one in his first 11 years in the league...Moustakas is 19-for-39 during his 11-game hit streak...Soria posted only his second perfect inning in his last eight appearances...Head posted a hit in his first major league at-bat, rolling a weak grounder toward second for an infield single.


    Aug 28 3:42 PM
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  • Mike Moustakas singled to right scoring Billy Butler. On the play, Jeff Francoeur advances to second. Runners on first and second with two outs and Johnny Giavotella due up.

    Royals 2, Indians 1  Top 3, 2 OutsAug 28 1:58 PM
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  • Carlos Santana walk scored Ezequiel Carrera. Bases loaded with none out and Shelley Duncan due up.

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  • Jeff Francoeur grounded into a fielder's choice, first to short scoring Alex Gordon. Billy Butler out at second. Melky Cabrera advances to third. Runners on first and third with two outs and Mike Moustakas due up.

    Royals 1, Indians 0  Top 1, 2 OutsAug 28 1:15 PM

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