KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Once again, Carlos Santana was a huge hit in Kansas City.
Santana, who homered five times at Kauffman Stadium in a series last month, hit a two-run homer as the Cleveland Indians topped the Royals 6-1 Friday night.
The loss cut the Royals’ lead to a half-game over Detroit in the AL Central.
Santana connected in the ninth inning for his 22nd home run, helping Cleveland win for the fifth time in six games.
“I have teams, Minnesota, Kansas City, I have good sense when I come here,” Santana said.
Santana said he hit a change-up from Francisley Bueno that was right down the middle.
“I hope the streak continues,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “That’s a nice swing. He can get streaky with his homers.”
Boosted by his big four-game set in July, Santana is 14-for-26 with six homers, 13 RBIs and a 1.269 slugging percentage this year in Kansas City.
Santana also had an RBI single as he continued to wreck the Royals. He is hitting only .229 overall this year.
Danny Salazar (5-6) pitched four-hit ball for five shutout innings.
“I was feeling good with my fastball,” Salazar said. “I was throwing it hard. That was my only thought.”
He didn’t come back out after a 44-minute rain delay in the bottom of the sixth.
“We just couldn’t get anything going offensively,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Jason Vargas (10-7) gave up 10 hits and four runs in six innings. In his past two starts, both losses, he has allowed 21 hits in 12 innings.
Zach Walters hit an RBI double in the second to put Cleveland ahead.
Tyler Bolt led off the Indians’ three-run third with a bunt single. Santana and Jose Ramirez had RBI singles and Michael Brantley, who had three hits, scored on Jeff Kipnis’ groundout.
Salazar gave up four singles, walked two and struck out three in five innings. After his exit, there was a parade of six Cleveland relievers.
The Royals did not score until the ninth on an RBI single by Alcides Escobar, who matched a career high with his fourth hit.
“That was a tough loss,” Escobar said. “I got four hits, but only one run. There’s nothing we can do about it now.”
No more Chen music
The Royals designated for assignment LHP Bruce Chen after he yielded six runs on five hits, three for extra bases, and two walks in the 10th inning Thursday in a loss to Minnesota. This was Chen’s sixth season with the Royals and he led the club in victories in three straight seasons from 2010-12.
“He’s been here a long time,” Yost said. “I’ve watched him win a bunch of ballgames. His presence on the field well as well off the field has been great for all of us.”
RHP Louis Coleman was summoned from Triple-A Omaha, taking Chen’s roster spot.
One and done
Indians LHPs Kyle Crockett and Marc Rzepczynski each threw just one pitch. Crockett hit Mike Moustakas with his pitch to start the seventh and was pulled. Rzepczynski retired Alex Gordon on a groundout to finish the seventh.
Indians: C Yan Gomes was activated from the concussion list after missing six games. … OF David Murphy (strained right oblique) took batting practice. ... C-IF Chris Gimenez was placed on the paternity list.
Royals: 1B Eric Hosmer (broken right hand) will report to Triple-A Omaha to begin a minor league rehab assignment. ... 2B Omar Infante (right shoulder inflammation) was not in the lineup for the fourth straight game.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer, who gave up four hits and struck out nine in six scoreless innings in beating Houston in his previous start, will start the middle game of this series.
Royals: RHP James Shields has won his past three starts against the Indians with a 1.80 ERA in that 20-inning span.
WHO: Cleveland vs. Kansas City
WHERE: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
PITCHERS: Bauer (5-7, 4.18 ERA) vs. Shields (12-7, 3.45)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM