KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Melky Cabrera rifled a bases-loaded, two-run single into left field off Cleveland closer Chris Perez with one out in the ninth inning Thursday night, lifting Kansas City to a 3-2 victory over the Indians.
Perez (0-1), who had been 6 for 6 in save opportunities and was unscored upon in 7 2-3 innings, started the ninth and got in immediate trouble when Kila Ka'aihue doubled leading off.
Pinch runner Mike Aviles went to third when Mitch Maier hit a pinch single. Alcides Escobar grounded to third baseman Jack Hannahan, who threw out Aviles at home for the first out. Chris Getz walked, loading the bases and Cabrera delivered.
Rookie Aaron Crow (2-0) pitched one inning for the victory, which gave the Royals a 2-2 split of the four-game series between AL Central leaders.
Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin pitched seven strong innings while going for his fourth victory in four decisions. Grady Sizemore had three hits and an RBI for the Indians.
The Royals are in Cleveland for three games next week.
Tomlin gave up one run on five hits, with a walk and four strikeouts. He lowered his ERA from 2.75 to 2.33.
Tony Sipp came out of the bullpen after Tomlin walked Getz leading off the eighth. He stole second and third, raising the Royals' league-leading total to 26 stolen bases. When Sipp walked Alex Gordon with two out and Vinnie Pestano relieved, Jeff Francoeur grounded an RBI single up the middle that shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera stopped from going through, possibly preventing the tying run from scoring.
The Indians scored both runs off Sean O'Sullivan (1-2) in the fifth as a light-to-moderate mist fell throughout most of the game. Matt LaPorta singled leading off and Jack Hannahan walked and both were sacrificed up a base before Sizemore lifted a bloop RBI single that dropped at Cabrera's shoes in shallow center.
After O'Sullivan walked Cabrera, loading the bases, Shin-Soo Choo hit a sinking liner to left field. Alex Gordon scooped the ball off the grass and jumped to his feet and threw out Sizemore trying for third as Hannahan scored the second run.
O'Sullivan went six-plus innings and was charged with two runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out six, tying his career high. He was relieved in the seventh by right-hander Louis Coleman, who made his major league debut after being called up from Triple-A Omaha.
NOTES: Neither team hit a home run in the four-game series. ... Kansas City has played 14 of its first 19 games at home. ... The Indians lead the AL with 99 runs scored. ... Cabrera made a strong throw home from center field to nail Carlos Santana at the plate in the eighth.
(This version CORRECTS Royals 3, Indians 2; Corrects Timlin to Tomlin)