Apr 16, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (11) pitches during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals drop road opener 4-3 to Tribe

Alcides Escobar continues to swing a hot bat, raising his average to .305 Monday night. Photo by Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals fell back to .500 Monday (9-9), losing to the Cleveland Indians 4-3 at Progressive Field. Jeremy Guthrie (2-1) took the loss, giving up four runs on 10 hits over 6.1 innings of work. Zach McAllister (3-0) notched the victory, allowing three runs, two earned, and six hits over six innings. A trio of arms held the slim margin for the Tribe, ending with John Axford recording a perfect ninth for his seventh save.

For the Royals, the game was marked by outstanding defensive catches by Nori Aoki, Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar, each sliding into improbable catches.

For the Tribe, who looked nothing like their counterparts in committing three errors, they made up for a lack of defense by clubbing two 2-run home runs off Guthrie.

In the fourth, Jason Kipnis led off with a double to right field that clipped first baseman Eric Hosmer‘s glove. With one out, Michael Brantley sent a Guthrie offering over the right field wall to make it 2-0.

In the fifth, the Royals charged back. Mike Moustakas doubled in the left field gap. Alcides Escobar followed with a sinking liner to right-center that rattled in and out of the glove of a diving Michael Bourn for a double, scoring Moustakas to make 2-1 Tribe. Jarrod Dyson hit a sacrifice bunt that McAllister threw away, plating Escobar and sending Dyson to second, tying the score 2-2.

After a groundout by Aoki, Omar Infante singled to left, scoring Dyson and giving the Royals a 3-2 lead.
But Guthrie couldn’t hold it. Nick Swisher led off the sixth with his third double of the season, and Kipnis followed with his third home run of the year, giving the Tribe a 4-3 lead.

NOTABLES: Alcides Escobar raised his average above .300, and is now hitting .305. He has hit safely in seven of his last 10 games, raising his average .138 points over that span. Nori Aoki continued his road swoon, going 0-4 at the plate. He is hitting .091  in nine games away from Kauffman Stadium. The Royals had four extra-base hits (three doubles, one triple). They are last in the American League with only six home runs and are the only AL team in single digits in that category. Only the Houston Astros trail the Royals with least amount of runs batted in for all AL teams.

NEXT: Kansas City Royals, James Shields (1-2, 2.00) vs. Cleveland Indians, Danny Salazar (0-2, 7.71). Game time 7:05.

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