|Kansas City (17-25) «||0||2||4||0||0||0||3||0||0||9||12||0|
CLEVELAND -- They've climbed from the AL Central basement and never want to go back.
Down and out most of this season -- and so many more before it -- the Kansas City Royals are suddenly rising.
Luke Hochevar pitched his third career complete game, Alberto Callaspo hit a three-run homer and the Royals won for the sixth time in eight games, beating the short-handed and sliding Indians 9-3 on Thursday to move out of last place in the AL Central.
"That's nice," said new manager Ned Yost, who improved to 5-2 since taking over for the fired Trey Hillman. "That's good. My focus is playing good every single day. That stuff takes care of itself. Our goal is to play good fundamental baseball. We've done that this week, without a doubt."
The Royals completed a two-game sweep of the Indians thanks to a solid performance from Hochevar (4-2), who gave up four hits and ended a three-game losing streak against Cleveland.
The right-hander had little trouble with the light-hitting Indians, who were without the top two batters in their lineup -- Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore, both on the disabled list with injuries.
Hochevar gave up two first-inning singles and then retired 15 of 16 before Shin-Soo Choo's double in the sixth.
"After the first, we hit a groove," Hochevar said. "Once you start rolling, you kind of go with it. As the game went on, I felt like my command got a lot better."
Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run homer for Cleveland, which dropped its fourth straight.
Hochevar's outing didn't begin smoothly. He trailed 1-0 before recording his second out, but settled down and coasted to his fourth win -- all on the road -- this season. He walked two, struck out seven and threw 107 pitches.
"Hoch got into a little bit of trouble in the first and limited the damage," Yost said. "He just took it from there. He was on his game. Everything he had was going for him. He did a nice job keeping the hitters off balance."
Because of the injuries to Cabrera and Sizemore, the Indians had Trevor Crowe leading off and Jason Donald batting second. Both were at Triple-A Columbus less than one week ago. But even before they lost their starting shortstop and center fielder, the Indians were a mess at the plate.
"It's been a struggle," said first-year manager Manny Acta. "Our numbers don't correlate very well. We're in the top three in strikeouts and dead last in home runs, so we're going to have to go back and revisit our hitting approach. We're not hitting balls out of the ballpark and we're striking out too much. Something has got to give."
Callaspo's towering shot to right landed in Kansas City's bullpen and staked Hochevcar to a 6-1 lead over Talbot, who has been one of the few bright spots for Cleveland this season.
Following a leadoff single by David DeJesus and Billy Butler's double, Guillen snapped an 0-for-17 slump against Cleveland pitching this season with a broken-bat RBI single to make it 3-1. The switch-hitting Callaspo followed by pulling a 2-0 pitch from Talbot for his seventh homer.
Talbot was tagged for six runs and eight hits in six innings. He didn't make any excuses, but wishes he had thrown something over than "a fastball over the plate" to Callaspo.
"I think I could have hit that," Talbot said.
The Indians closed to 6-3 in the sixth on Peralta's third homer.
But the Royals came back with three in the seventh, helped by Choo's error in right field when he overran Mike Aviles' single for a two-base error. The ball probably never should have gotten out of the infield, but second baseman Luis Valbuena never saw it.
"He didn't see the ball -- at all," Acta said. "He lost it in the glass back there and the front row. He said if the ball would have 'come at me, it would have hit me in the face.'"
|The complete-game win is sweet for Luke Hochevar, who had lost his previous three starts vs. Cleveland. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
Nike Royals Away Practice T-Shirt - Royal Blue
$27.95 Shop Now!
|Kansas City Royals|
|Scott Podsednik, LF||3||1||1||0||1||0||2||.302|
|Willie Bloomquist, LF||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.114|
|Mike Aviles, 2B||5||1||1||0||0||0||1||.375|
|David DeJesus, RF||5||1||1||0||0||2||2||.265|
|Billy Butler, 1B||3||2||2||0||1||0||1||.337|
|Jose Guillen, DH||4||2||2||3||0||0||2||.259|
|Alberto Callaspo, 3B||4||2||2||3||0||0||0||.309|
|Mitch Maier, CF||3||0||0||0||1||0||0||.237|
|Yuniesky Betancourt, SS||4||0||2||1||0||0||0||.279|
|Jason Kendall, C||4||0||1||1||0||0||2||.285|
|2B - Billy Butler 2 (12, Talbot, Talbot)|
|HR - Jose Guillen (9, Ambriz), Alberto Callaspo (7, Talbot)|
|RBI - Jose Guillen 3 (28), Alberto Callaspo 3 (28), Yuniesky Betancourt (16), Jason Kendall (7)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jose Guillen 2 (9), Jason Kendall (4)|
|CS - Scott Podsednik (4, 2nd base by Talbot/Marson)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Luke Hochevar (W,4-2)||9||4||3||3||2||7||1||5.37|
|Pitches-Strikes - Luke Hochevar 107-75|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luke Hochevar 10-10|
|Batters Faced - Luke Hochevar 33|
|Trevor Crowe, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.333|
|Jason Donald, SS||4||1||0||0||0||2||1||.182|
|Shin-Soo Choo, RF||2||1||1||0||2||0||0||.288|
|Travis Hafner, DH||4||0||1||1||0||0||2||.269|
|Jhonny Peralta, 3B||4||1||1||2||0||1||0||.246|
|Russell Branyan, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.197|
|Matt LaPorta, LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.215|
|Luis Valbuena, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.152|
|Lou Marson, C||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.213|
|2B - Shin-Soo Choo (8, Hochevar)|
|HR - Jhonny Peralta (3, Hochevar)|
|RBI - Travis Hafner (13), Jhonny Peralta 2 (17)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jhonny Peralta 2 (11)|
|SB - Shin-Soo Choo (9, 2nd base off Hochevar/Kendall)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|DP - Peralta-Valbuena-Branyan, Valbuena-Donald-Branyan, Valbuena-Branyan|
|E - Shin-Soo Choo (2, Misplayed grounder)|
|Mitch Talbot (L,5-3)||6||8||6||6||3||1||1||3.88|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mitch Talbot 104-58, Rafael Perez 11-7, Hector Ambriz 27-15|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mitch Talbot 11-4, Hector Ambriz 3-3|
|Batters Faced - Mitch Talbot 27, Rafael Perez 3, Hector Ambriz 9|
|Attendance - 13953|
|Game Time - 2:25|
|Temperature - 65|
|Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Ed Hickox, Third Base - Field Culbreth|