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Hafner's homer ends six-game losing streak for Indians

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Travis Hafner rounded the bases with his arms held high and a triumphant look on his face.

Hafner's game-winning, two-run homer in the ninth gave the Indians a 6-4 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night and broke Cleveland's six-game losing streak.

"Just putting the streak out of the way is big," said Hafner after his first career game-ending homer. "I went up there excited to hit in that situation."

Grady Sizemore led off the ninth with a game-tying homer off Ambiorix Burgos (1-2) into the Indians' bullpen in center field. It was Sizemore's third homer and fifth hit in eight career at-bats against Burgos, who blew his third straight save opportunity.

"I think we knew then that we were going to win," Sizemore said. "I was just trying to do something to get us going, but when I saw it go out, I was pretty fired up."

Burgos walked Jhonny Peralta and left-hander Andrew Sisco was summoned to face the lefty Hafner, who hit his 12th homer of the season to center.

"If you make a bad pitch to a good hitter, you don't get lucky very often," said Sisco. "I didn't get lucky tonight. He's one of the best left-handed hitters in the game. It was a fastball and it was a strike -- that was the problem."

Hafner, who went 3-for-4 with three RBI, thought he had broken Cleveland's losing streak Sunday, but his long drive with two on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth was caught on the warning track in a 3-2 loss to Detroit.

"I hit them both about the same, but the wind was blowing in Sunday," he said. "Tonight, Grady took off all the pressure. I went up there and said to myself, 'Let's hit one and get out of here.'

"But I was fortunate to hit a homer."

Kansas City's fourth consecutive loss dropped the Royals to 2-18 on the road, tying the worst 20-game start away from home ever. The Houston Astros were the last team to start 2-18 on the road and they rebounded to go to the 2005 World Series.

Jason Davis (2-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for Cleveland, which won for just the second time in its last eight home games.

"We were pressing a bit," Sizemore said. "It's been kind of tight in the dugout the last few games."

Royals starter Scott Elarton was deprived of a win in his first game back in Cleveland since leaving to sign a two-year, $8 million contract with Kansas City in December.

"I don't know what to say except we've had bad luck," Elarton said.

In his second start this year against the Indians, the right-hander allowed three runs and seven hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out four and walking two.

Matt Stairs hit his third homer leading off the sixth to snap a 3-3 tie against former Royals right-hander Paul Byrd, who left the Los Angeles Angels for a two-year, $14.25 million deal with Cleveland.

Byrd, who won a career-high 17 games for the Royals in 2002, allowed four runs and seven hits over six innings, striking out five.

The Royals put together four hits to take a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Doug Mientkiewicz doubled home a run, another scored on a groundout by Stairs and Emil Brown got an RBI when he beat out a grounder into the hole at shortstop.

Casey Blake made it 3-1, leading off the third with his seventh homer. That extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games.

Ronnie Belliard and Aaron Boone followed with singles. One out later, Jason Michaels' RBI single made it 3-2. Peralta walked to load the bases and a sacrifice fly by Hafner tied it at 3.

Notes

  • The win was Cleveland's first in its last at-bat at home this seasons and 138th at Jacobs Field, which opened in 1994.
  • The Royals released RHP Joe Mays, who had been designated for assignment May 8.
  • Stairs went 2-for-3 against Byrd after entering the game 1-for-13 against him.
  • RHP Rafael Betancourt, activated from the 15-day disabled list, pitched one scoreless inning for Cleveland.
  • The Indians are now 1-21 when trailing after eight innings.
  • Grand Prix race driver Mario Dominguez threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Travis Hafner is surrounded by teammates after his game-winning, two-run home run in the ninth. (AP)
Travis Hafner is surrounded by teammates after his game-winning, two-run home run in the ninth. (AP)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

M. Stairs
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Cleveland

T. Hafner
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Kansas City Royals
Kerry Robinson, CF4110013 .276
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B4110001 .307
Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B4121010 .236
Reggie Sanders, RF4000023 .237
Matt Stairs, DH4122001 .245
Emil Brown, LF4011002 .222
Tony Graffanino, 3B2000101 .254
Angel Berroa, SS4010021 .260
John Buck, C4000001 .243
Totals344841613 
Batting
2B - Doug Mientkiewicz (8, Byrd), Matt Stairs (3, Byrd)
HR - Matt Stairs (3, Byrd)
RBI - Doug Mientkiewicz (11), Matt Stairs 2 (10), Emil Brown (16)
2-OUT RBI - Emil Brown (6)
SB - Angel Berroa (1, 2nd base off Byrd/Martinez)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Reggie Sanders (1, )
Kansas City Royals
Scott Elarton 5.2733241 4.38
Elmer Dessens (H,7) 2.1200010 2.86
Ambiorix Burgos (BS,4; L,1-2) 0.1122111 6.23
Andrew Sisco0111001 7.20
HBP - Sizemore (by Scott Elarton)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Elarton 104-63, Elmer Dessens 26-19, Ambiorix Burgos 14-7, Andrew Sisco 2-1
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Elarton 4-9, Elmer Dessens 2-4
Batters Faced - Scott Elarton 27, Elmer Dessens 9, Ambiorix Burgos 3, Andrew Sisco 1
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF4111003 .298
Jason Michaels, LF5011021 .276
Jhonny Peralta, SS3100221 .255
Travis Hafner, DH4133000 .326
Victor Martinez, C4000005 .310
Ben Broussard, 1B4010000 .394
Casey Blake, RF4111021 .366
Ron Belliard, 2B4130001 .271
Aaron Boone, 3B3110102 .252
Totals3561163614 
Batting
2B - Jason Michaels (8, Elarton), Travis Hafner (9, Dessens)
HR - Grady Sizemore (5, Burgos), Travis Hafner (12, Sisco), Casey Blake (7, Elarton)
SF - Travis Hafner (1)
RBI - Grady Sizemore (17), Jason Michaels (14), Travis Hafner 3 (35), Casey Blake (27)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jason Michaels 1
DP - Michaels-Martinez, Broussard
E - Paul Byrd (2, throwing)
Cleveland Indians
Paul Byrd 6744051 6.45
Rafael Betancourt 1000000 5.63
Guillermo Mota 1100010 5.40
Jason Davis (W,2-1) 1000100 3.32
HBP - Graffanino (by Paul Byrd)
Pitches-Strikes - Paul Byrd 93-66, Rafael Betancourt 8-6, Guillermo Mota 15-10, Jason Davis 13-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Byrd 7-6
Batters Faced - Paul Byrd 26, Rafael Betancourt 3, Guillermo Mota 4, Jason Davis 3
Game Information
Attendance - 15399
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 57
Umpires - Home - Greg Gibson, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - Charlie Reliford, Third Base - Larry Vanover