KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Russell Branyan homered twice and Jake Westbrook pitched six innings for his first win in two years, lifting the Cleveland Indians to an 8-2 victory over the backpedaling Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
Branyan hit a two-run homer off Brian Bannister (1-3) in the second and a solo shot in the ninth off Joakim Soria, his first two of the season. Jhonny Peralta added a two-run double and the Indians had 10 hits to help Westbrook (1-2) get his first win since April 8, 2008, against the Angels.
The Royals followed a dismal road trip with another clunker, getting an almost-predictable bullpen blowup and base-to-base hitting to see their losing streak reach six games.
This matchup featured the bottom teams in the AL Central.
The last-place Royals were coming off a 3-8 season-long trip that ended with a four-game sweep at Texas. The lowlights included too many walks, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt's fine-inducing botched popup and an inexplicable failure by the entire team to notice a runner advancing to second without tagging up.
The Indians have only been marginally better.
Plagued by swing-and-miss hitting, Cleveland tumbled down the standings with three wins in 12 games. Cleveland struck out 86 times in an eight-game homestand and entered Tuesday as the third-worst team in baseball at scoring and hitting homers.
The Indians ended a five-game skid Sunday against Detroit by getting five RBIs from their No. 7-8 hitters, and got production from the middle of the lineup to beat the Royals in the opener of an eight-game road trip.
It was more than Westbrook needed.
He battled a tight back against Toronto on Tuesday, allowing four runs in 3 2-3 innings. The right-hander was much looser against the Royals, inducing 13 groundouts with his from-behind-the-ear delivery.
Westbrook allowed a run-scoring single to Billy Butler in the third inning but just one runner past first base after that, yielding five hits.
Bannister got just nine outs his last outing, against the White Sox on Wednesday.
The right-hander went a little deeper in this one, but was hurt by two inopportune walks.
Branyan followed Austin Kearns' leadoff walk in the second with his first homer since last August, pulling a pitch out of the strike zone over the wall in right-center. Another leadoff walk scored in the fourth, when Peralta hit a two-run double to the wall in left-center that put the Tribe up 4-0.
Bannister allowed four runs and six hits in six innings.
Cleveland blew it open against Kansas City's combustible bullpen in the seventh, scoring three runs on a groundout, a bases-loaded walk and Kearns' run-scoring single.
NOTES: Cleveland CF Grady Sizemore had two singles after going 9 for 35 the previous eight games. ... Butler knocked in Kansas City's other run with a groundout in the eighth. ... Royals manager Trey Hillman was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing a close play at third on a double steal.