Nothing unlucky at all about No. 13. Not for the Royals. Not after halting their losing streak at 12 games Saturday night with a 4-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium.
Perhaps it’s fitting, too, that David DeJesus keyed the offense with a home run and an RBI double after committing a costly base-running blunder in Friday’s loss.
Reliever Joel Peralta also atoned for yielding two homers in his last outing by pitching out of a jam in the seventh.
The Royals went to closer Joakim Soria to start the eighth for his first two-inning save opportunity of the season. Soria inherited a three-run lead.
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That’s got to be safe, right?
It was, as it turned out, but not without some anxious moments. Twelve straight losses produce a truckload of bad karma.
Jhonny Peralta opened the eighth by lining a single into center and moved to second on a passed ball. Shin-Soo Choo flied to left, and Soria seemed to have a second out when Casey Blake lofted a routine fly into short left-center field.
But Joey Gathright broke late from center, and neither shortstop Tony Peña nor left fielder José Guillen could reach the ball, which fell for a double. A walk to Michael Aubrey loaded the bases.
Pinch-hitter David Dellucci made it 4-2 with a weak grounder to first, but Soria stranded runners at second and third by retiring Grady Sizemore on a pop to Peña in short center.
Soria then worked around a two-out single in the ninth in putting an end to the 12-game skid. Finally.
The 12 straight losses matched a 1997 skid for the third-longest in franchise history. The Royals lost 13 straight in 2006 and had a 19-game streak in 2005.
Today, though, they will look win the three-game series.
Royals starter Kyle Davies was recalled, officially, just before the game after going 6-2 with a 2.06 ERA in 10 starts at Class AAA Omaha. The club cleared roster space by designating just-acquired catcher Brayan Peña for assignment.
Davies wobbled through five innings but gave up just one run and got the victory. He threw 100 pitches and stranded seven runners before handing a 4-1 lead to the bullpen.
Ron Mahay worked a scoreless sixth before exiting with one out and a runner at first in the seventh. Peralta entered to boos from the crowd of 22,923 after surrendering two homers in Wednesday’s horrific 9-8 loss to the Twins in 10 innings.
Peralta started shakily by walking Jamey Carroll but retired the next two hitters.
Then it was on to Soria, who secured his 12th save in 12 opportunities. It was his first save since agreeing May 17 to a three-year contract extension.
Cleveland starter C.C. Sabathia, the reigning Cy Young winner, turned his season around earlier this season against the Royals by pitching six shutout innings April 22 in a 15-1 victory. That started a seven-game run in which he compiled an 0.89 ERA by allowing nine runs in 5061/37 innings.
He was less effective this time.
Sabathia fell to 3-7 after allowing four runs and eight hits in eight innings. He gave up a homer to DeJesus in the third before the Royals struck for three runs in the fifth.
The Indians scored first after Franklin Gutierrez opened the third inning with a triple into the left-center gap. That amounted to charitable scoring because Gutierrez probably stops at second if Guillen doesn’t bobble the ball.
Carroll then punched a one-out single off the glove of a leaping Esteban German, who drew the start over Peña. German is 5 inches shorter than Peña.
That’s how things are going in this streak. The Indians went on to load the bases, but Davies escaped without further damage.
That allowed the Royals to pull even on DeJesus’ two-out homer in the home third. It was the first homer by a Royal to leave the playing field in 80 innings — dating to Miguel Olivo’s three-run shot in the eighth inning on May 22 at Boston.
Mark Teahen had an inside-the-park homer Tuesday against the Twins.
The Royals spanked Sabathia for three runs in the fifth after Teahen led off with an infield single and went to third on John Buck’s double to left-center.