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BASEBALL

Indians rely on Masterson in Kansas City

Righty Justin Masterson can pull over .500 for his career against the Kansas City Royals on Friday when the Cleveland Indians visit them at Kauffman Stadium to open a three-game series.

The 27-year-old is 4-4 in 16 career meetings with Kansas City across 16 overall appearances - 11 starts - with a 4.50 earned run average in 70 composite innings.

Masterson faced the Royals for the lone time in 2012 on May 29 in Cleveland and allowed eight runs on nine hits in six innings of an 8-2 loss.

He was a 3-2 winner at Detroit on Sept. 4 for his last victory, but has dropped a pair of starts since while giving up 13 hits and 10 runs in 11 1/3 innings against Minnesota and the Tigers.

Masterson is 5-8 in 15 road starts in 2012.

For the Royals, righty Luis Mendoza makes his sixth attempt at a first victory since Aug. 17.

A native of Mexico, Mendoza improved to 7-8 on the season with a seven-inning effort against the Chicago White Sox that yielded a 4-2 victory.

In five starts since, he's 0-1 with four no-decisions, including a tough-luck stint at Minnesota in his last start on Sept. 13, when he allowed a run on two hits in six innings of a game the Royals lost, 4-3.

Mendoza last faced the Indians on Aug. 1 and was a 5-2 winner after giving up two runs on four hits in 7 1/3 innings.

On Thursday in Cleveland, Casey Kotchman hit a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning and the Indians avoided a three-game sweep with a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Shin-Soo Choo began the 10th with a double off the wall in left-center field, then moved to third base on a groundout. Anthony Swarzak (3-5) followed with consecutive intentional walks before Kotchman grounded the deciding single up the middle.

"I tried not to over-think it. Tried to get a pitch to hit and hit it," Kotchman said.

Esmil Rogers (3-1) tossed a perfect top of the 10th to earn the win, while Kotchman finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored, as the Indians halted a five-game skid against their AL Central rival.

In Kansas City, Eric Hosmer ripped a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Royals to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

With the game locked at 3-3 in the ninth, Billy Butler smacked a leadoff single and was replaced by pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson.

Jesse Crain (2-3) retired the next two hitters before Dyson stole second and Jeff Francoeur was intentionally walked.

Matt Thornton then entered from the bullpen and Hosmer scorched the left- hander's third offering down the third-base line to score Dyson, as the Royals took two-of-three from the White Sox in this series.

"I was just trying to shorten up and put the ball in play right there and let Dyson's legs do the rest," Hosmer said.

Greg Holland (7-4) earned the victory after tossing a scoreless top of the ninth.

Johnny Giavotella added a two-run triple for the Royals, who have nine of their last 11 games against the White Sox.

The Royals won seven of the first 12 games between the teams in 2012, but were swept in a three-game set the last time they faced the Indians - in Kansas City - from July 31-Aug. 2. Cleveland won last year's series, 12-6.