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Royals commence homestand versus Indians

The Kansas City Royals are settling in for the start of a 10-game homestand.

They hope it doesn't take Ervin Santana too long to get comfortable on the mound as he draws the start in Friday night's opener of a four-game series with the Cleveland Indians.

Santana has gone 2-0 and allowed just four runs over his last three starts after giving up four runs over six frames in losing his Royals debut on April 3. He was tagged for three homers in that setback at the Chicago White Sox, but has only allowed one home run since.

The 30-year-old righty is coming off a victory in Boston on Sunday as he scattered a pair of first-inning runs over seven total frames while striking out seven.

Three of his eight runs allowed this season have come in the first inning and he has allowed only one run so far this year from the fifth inning on.

"Once he gets settled in he gets on a nice roll," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Santana is 2-1 with a 2.48 earned run average on the season and is just 2-8 lifetime versus the Indians with a 4.71 ERA in 14 starts.

The Royals are returning home following a 4-3 road trip that featured two games that were rained out. That included the opener of their set with the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City bounced back from a loss on Wednesday with yesterday's 8-3 victory in 10 innings.

The Royals scored five runs in the top of the 10th, including the first grand slam of Alex Gordon's career.

"Honestly, I had three punch-outs on the day and I was just trying to make contact," said Gordon. "Sometimes that's what happens."

Gordon finished with a pair of hits, while Billy Butler went 3-for-3 with an RBI single.

Kansas City will try to keep swinging a hot bat in this opener against Scott Kazmir, who made his first start since 2011 with his Indians debut on Saturday.

In his return to the majors, the left-hander was tagged for six runs on eight hits, two homers and three walks in just 3 1/3 innings. He did not get a decision in his club's 19-6 win.

"Up 10 runs, I guess it's just one of those things when it's my first time out there, (they) just got the best of me," Kazmir said after just his second start in the majors since 2010. "I just wasn't able to pitch my game. I'm the type of guy that likes to pitch off my fastball."

Kazmir, 29, is 3-2 in his career versus the Royals in 10 starts with a 5.23 ERA.

The Indians had won three straight before losing a 3-2 decision to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. Zach McAllister struggled with his command in taking the loss, charged with three runs on five hits and five walks over 5 2/3 innings.

Jason Kipnis and Mark Reynolds each registered an RBI for the Indians, who played without shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (sore right quad) and catcher Carlos Santana (illness). Both could return to action tonight.

"We battled and battled and put guys on and we just didn't get that one hit to put us over the top. We just didn't quite get the job done," said Indians infielder Ryan Raburn, who hit into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the fourth inning and his club down just one run.

The Royals went 10-8 versus the Indians last season.