KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Game-winning hits are hard to come by for journeymen catchers who shuffle around from team to team and only rarely get to play.
For Alberto Castillo, there was that bases-loaded single with the New York Mets eight years ago. And now there's a solo home run with two outs in the ninth inning Tuesday that lifted the Kansas City Royals past the Cleveland Indians 6-5.
"I did it one time in 1997 with the Mets," said Castillo, who's spent time with six different clubs since breaking into the majors in 1995. "It was a great feeling. What can I say? It's a great feeling."
Castillo, subbing for slumping John Buck, had only 10 career homers in 904 at-bats when he received the 3-2 fastball he expected from Arthur Rhodes (1-1), the fifth Cleveland pitcher. He also had two singles, scored three runs and snared his first stolen base since 2001.
"A very good day," he said beaming.
Manager Tony Pena, whose Royals are 3-0 when Castillo catches, told him Monday that he would start.
"It's nice to get up in the morning, and you think of the fact you're playing that day," Castillo said. "I was a happy man last night."
The Indians and Royals both stranded 13 runners. The Royals, who also used five pitchers and won for just the second time in eight home games, had 15 hits. Cleveland, which loaded the bases twice but failed to score, had 14.
"Runners left on base, that's the story of the game," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "It was ridiculous how many runners we left on base. Guys are swinging the bats better and we created many opportunities. You'd think we could scratch out at least one (hit) here or there."
Mike MacDougal (1-0) pitched one inning for Kansas City.
Cleveland loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth and eighth innings but didn't score. Ben Broussard hit into a forceout at the plate in the fifth, and second baseman Ruben Gotay threw out Victor Martinez at the plate following Aaron Boone' popup into shallow right. In the eighth. Ronnie Belliard and Martinez struck out, and Travis Hafner grounded out.
"As a hitter, those are situations you want to be in," Hafner said. "That's when you can do your damage as a hitter. My last two at-bats, I had runners on base. We didn't get it done. You might come out tomorrow and score 13 or 14."
Scott Elarton allowed five runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings and is winless in his last 26 road starts. Royals starter Denny Bautista gave up five runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Kansas City took a 2-0 lead in the first when Matt Stairs hit an RBI double and scored on Terrence Long's single -- matching the Royals' run total for their previous two games combined.
Boone's RBI single in the second cut the lead in half but Castillo singled in the bottom half, stole second and scored on a single by David DeJesus.
Boone and Broussard hit RBI singles that tied it 3-all in the fourth.
Gotay's sacrifice fly and Mike Sweeney's infield single to deep third put Kansas City back ahead in the bottom half, but Cleveland retied it in the sixth on Coco Crisp's RBI single and Martinez's sacrifice fly.
Since his previous stolen base with Toronto in 2001, Castillo had only tried twice, getting thrown out both times last year with the Royals. ... SS Angel Berroa made a fine play on Broussard's hard-hit ball in the second, going to his right and nipping the runner by a half-step. ... Every Indian in the starting lineup hit safely.