Indians hope to make up more ground in test with Royals

The Cleveland Indians will try to continue their rise in the American League Central standings on Saturday night as they take on the Kansas City Royals in the second contest of a three-game series.

Thanks to a three-run seventh inning and a dominant performance from its pitching staff, Cleveland was able to claim Friday night's contest, 3-0.

Carlos Santana broke open a scoreless game in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single and Michael Bourn plated two later in the frame with a pinch-hit single.

Those runs proved more than enough for Corey Kluber (7-5), who tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings, yielding just three hits and three walks while striking out eight.

"He certainly stays composed," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Kluber. "For a young pitcher, that's a big compliment."

Cody Allen added three more punchouts in the ninth, working around a bases- loaded jam for his second save. Closer Chris Perez was unavailable after pitching in five of the previous six games.

After losing four games in a row last week, Cleveland has responded with wins in four of six and are just 2 1/2 games behind Detroit in the AL Central.

Bruce Chen matched Kluber pitch-for-pitch in the early going for the Royals, throwing six shutout innings while surrendering just two base runners, but Terry Collins (2-3) put the first two batters of the seventh inning on base before Aaron Crow allowed them to score.

"I did everything I could to help us win, but Kluber was just a little bit better," Chen said. "Sometimes you have to give credit because he made some great pitches and pitched out of some tough situations."

Mike Moustakas finished with two of Kansas City's five hits.

On Saturday, Kansas City will call on Jeremy Guthrie, who has been a solid cog in the Royals' rotation with an 8-6 record and a 4.12 ERA.

Guthrie registered his first win in nearly a month in his latest outing, defeating the Yankees on July 8 by allowing only one earned run over 6 2/3 innings.

"(He's a) tremendous competitor," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said of Guthrie following his previous start. "He showed it today, to endure an hour rain delay and go out and throw at the level that he threw."

The journeyman right-hander hasn't always been sharp this season -- he's allowed four earned runs or more eight times -- but the Royals can usually count on him to battle deep into games, as he's pitched six innings or more in 16 of 18 starts.

For the Indians, Scott Kazmir will take the hill. Kazmir's career resurgence with a new team in 2013 has been an up-and-down one, as he sits at 4-4 with a 4.74 ERA.

Kazmir has won just once in his last four starts, but he's been very effective over that time frame, allowing just six earned runs over the course of 24 2/3 innings. He yielded two earned over 5 2/3 innings his last time out on July 8 against the Tigers but came away with a no-decision.

The southpaw faced off against the Royals just 10 days ago, allowing six hits, no walks and three earned runs in five innings in another no-decision.

The Indians own a slight 6-5 advantage in the season series, having won four of the past six encounters.