KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Ned Yost certainly loved the fight that the Kansas City Royals showed Saturday night.
If only they could have managed one more run.
After watching the Royals rally from a seven-run deficit to force extra innings, the Indians' Shin-Soo Choo hit a two-run double with two outs in the 10th, giving Cleveland an 11-9 victory in a testy affair marked by three ejections and a pair of bench-clearings.
"We were down seven and you want to hold the fort, so you can chip your way back into," Yost said. "We did tonight, but we just couldn't get that one extra run to close the game out."
Yuniesky Betancourt's solo homer in the eighth inning capped the Royals' rally, but Choo got the pitch he wanted from Greg Holland (0-1) in the first extra frame. Jarrod Dyson nearly caught the deep fly at the center-field wall, but the ball popped out of his glove as he made contact.
Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley came around to score the go-ahead runs.
Jairo Asencio (1-1) earned his first major league win by pitching a clean ninth inning, while Chris Perez set the Royals down in order for his second save of the season.
"We fought back, but it just wasn't enough," said the Royals' Mike Moustakas.
Booed all night, Choo made Kansas City pay for hitting him early in the game.
Jonathan Sanchez got him in the right knee in the third inning, sending both teams streaming onto the field. Sanchez and Choo have some history: The left-hander broke Choo's thumb last season by hitting him with a pitch and sent him to the disabled list for nearly two months.
Tempers were still simmering in the bottom half when Cleveland starter Jeanmar Gomez hit Moustakas leading off. Plate umpire Gary Darling immediately tossed Gomez along with Indians manager Manny Acta and third baseman Jack Hannahan, who rushed into the middle of the fray.
Yost was also in the middle of the scrap, losing his hat as he got into Hannahan's face.
"My job in those situations is not to fight, but to break it up," Yost said. "Hannahan was there and I just grabbed him. That was it."
Carlos Santana, Jose Lopez and Kipnis each drove in a pair of runs for the Indians, who have come alive after a miserable five-game stretch to start the season. They scored seven times in the first inning while taking the series opener, and piled up 14 hits on Saturday night.
Things soured for Sanchez early in the third, when Brantley ripped a one-out triple to the wall. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with an RBI single, and Sanchez plunked Choo on the right knee.
Choo started jawing at Sanchez as he headed toward first base, and the Royals starter dished the trash talk right back at him. Hannahan rushed at Sanchez before the umpires and coaches from both teams intervened, restoring order before tempers boiled over.
"I hit him twice. I have nothing against him. I just wanted to come in with those pitches," Sanchez said. "But if you're going to miss, miss in. I'm not going to miss over the plate."
The Indians immediately pounced on the rattled Sanchez, piling up five runs before he was finally lifted from his Kauffman Stadium debut after 2 2-3 innings.
Although Moustakas came around to score after his plunking, on a triple by Alcides Escobar, and Dyson followed with a sacrifice fly, the Indians tacked on more runs.
Cleveland got one back on Santana's base hit in the fourth. Kotchman went deep leading off the fifth, and Kipnis followed a base hit by Jason Donald with his own homer to make it 9-2.
Then Royals' rally started in the most innocuous of ways.
Betancourt singled to lead off the fifth inning, and an RBI double by Moustakas and an RBI by Escobar on a double-play groundout made it 9-4.
Kansas City added two more runs in the sixth. Butler ripped a one-out double to left field, and an error on Kipnis at second base allowed Betancourt to reach first and keep the inning alive for Moustakas, whose RBI double pulled the Royals within three runs.
Hosmer's run-scoring double and Butler's RBI single made it a one-run game in the seventh, and Betancourt finally tied it on a 2-2 pitch from Vinnie Pestano leading off the eighth.
Choo made all the hard work coming back moot.
"What a crazy kind of emotional game," Acta said. "Just glad we came out on top."
Notes: Indians RHP Ubaldo Jimenez pitches the finale against Royals RHP Luis Mendoza. ... The Indians have homered each of their first seven games, the fourth-best season-opening stretch since at least 1918. ... Royals starters allowed seven runs in 34 innings over the first six games of the season. They've allowed 12 in 6 2-3 innings against Cleveland.