Kansas City Royals right fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) lunges for a ball hit by Cleveland Indians' Asdrubal Cabrera in the third inning. ASSOCIATED PRESS
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jason Vargas cooled down hot-hitting Cleveland, Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer and the Kansas City Royals held on for a 9-5 victory over the Indians on Tuesday night.
Hosmer also drove in a run during a four-run fourth inning. Alex Gordon homered in the eighth and Mike Moustakas hit a two-run shot later that inning as the Royals (32-32) moved back to .500 by matching their second-best run total of the season.
Vargas (6-2) gave up six hits and hit three batters with pitches, but didn’t allow a run until Jason Kipnis drove in a pair with a two-out double in the eighth. Tim Collins entered and gave up another run before Aaron Crow yielded two more in the ninth.
Corey Kluber (6-4), who dominated the Royals earlier this season, allowed six runs — three earned — and six hits over five innings. He struck out five and walked two.
Both starters dominated for the first couple of innings, Vargas using guile to keep Cleveland off balance and Kluber needing just 17 pitches to retire the first six Royals batters.
Everything changed in the bottom of the third.
Moustakas walked to start things off, and Alcides Escobar followed with a single. Jarrod Dyson then hit a grounder that Kipnis fielded and tossed to Asdrubal Cabrera covering second. But in making the grab and transitioning to his throwing hand, Cabrera dropped the ball. He was still granted an out initially, but replay overturned the umpire’s call and he was given an error.
That loaded the bases for Omar Infante, in the throes of a 1-for-21 slump, and he dropped a single into center field for a 1-0 lead. Hosmer followed with his RBI groundout.
Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway came out to check on Kluber, but the visit didn’t do much good. Billy Butler added a two-run single moments later to give Kansas City a 4-0 lead.
Hosmer homered in the fifth, his third of the season.
Kluber was yanked after the inning, a marked contrast to his last outing against Kansas City when he tossed his first career complete game in a 5-1 victory on April 24.
Meanwhile, Vargas was mowing down an Indians order that included the scorching Lonnie Chisenhall, who went 5 for 5 with three homers and nine RBIs the previous night in Texas. Vargas even helped himself, snaring a liner in the sixth to start an inning-ending double play.
It wasn’t until Vargas left the game that the Indians started to rally, and the hole they had dug themselves proved to be far too deep.
NOTES: Indians RHP Zach McAllister (strained lower back) allowed two runs in six innings during a rehab start for Triple-A Columbus. He will join the team later this week in Boston, though it’s unclear when he’ll slot back into the rotation. ... Indians OF Nick Swisher (left knee) went 0 for 2 while playing five innings for Double-A Akron. He also plans to join the Indians in Boston. ... Royals LHP Bruce Chen (back) plans to make a rehab start for Triple-A Omaha on Friday.