Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer and knocked in three as Cleveland took down Kansas City, 6-1, in the first portion of a three-game series.
"I have certain teams, Minnesota, Kansas City, that I do well against," noted Santana, who hit five homers at Kauffman Stadium in the Tribe's last series there. "I have good sense when I come here."
Zach Walters, Jason Kipnis and Jose Ramirez added an RBI apiece for the Indians, winners in five of their last six contests who also earned the franchise's 9,000th victory.
Danny Salazar (5-6) tossed five scoreless frames during which he gave up just four hits and two walks while striking out three. Six relievers combined to hold the hosts to a run on five hits the rest of the way.
Alcides Escobar finished with four hits and knocked in the lone run for the Royals, whose lead in the AL Central was reduced to a half-game as Detroit won in Chicago earlier Friday.
Jason Vargas (10-7) surrendered 10 hits and four runs over his unsuccessful six-inning start.
Walters' two-out RBI double brought home Kipnis with Cleveland's initial run in the second, then the visitors picked up three more in the third.
Tyler Holt bunted for a hit and ended up at second on Vargas' wild throw to first, then came in on a one-out single from Ramirez. Ramirez stole second, and though he stayed there on an infield hit by Michael Brantley, he scored when Santana followed with a solid single. Brantley then came home on a Kipnis grounder.
Ramirez singled with one away in the ninth and came home when Santana deposited a Francisley Bueno pitch well over the wall in left-center for a 6-0 contest.
Kansas City picked up its lone run in the bottom of the ninth thanks to three straight one-out singles off Josh Tomlin, the last of which came from Escobar to plate Christian Colon. Alex Gordon fanned and Billy Butler grounded out to end the contest.
"That was a tough loss," Escobar said. "I got four hits, but we only got one run. There's nothing we can do about it now."
Before the game, the Royals announced that pitcher Bruce Chen has been designated for assignment and Louis Coleman was recalled from Triple-A Omaha ... The Indians activated catcher Yan Gomes from the 7-day concussion disabled list and placed catcher Chris Gimenez on the paternity list ... The game was delayed by rain for 44 minutes prior to the bottom of the sixth.