Rafael Perez came on for the Indians to start the seventh, ending Josh Tomlin’s night after six innings and two runs and five hits surrendered. Tomlin fanned three and walked only one, leaving his ERA at 2.45.
Perez walked Brayan Pena with one out. but no further damage was done.
Frankly, it was nice to see an easy inning for the Indians’ bullpen against the pesky Royals.
Kansas City closer Joakim Soria came on in the bottom of the seventh, no doubt to get some work in, with the Royals having lost four straight and not having given Soria an opportunity to appear in a game since last Tuesday against the Tribe.
Raffy Perez got the first two in the eighth — keeping his ERA at 0.00 for the season — and was lifted in favor of Joe Smith. Perez has now pitched 7 2/3 innings this year, surrendering only three hits.
But Smith was able to get Wilson Betemit on strikes looking to end the threat, and the Indians were one inning from moving to 15-8 on the season.
Jeremy Jeffress replaced Soria to begin the Cleveland eighth, and set the Tribe down one-two-three.
The Tribe called on Chad Durbin to try to close the game out. Durbin, with a 7.56 ERA and a five-run lead, could really use an easy inning, to — if nothing else — boost his confidence, and the confidence of the coaching staff to use him in a closer game.
Josh Tomlin gets the win to move to 4-0, and is only a bullpen letdown last week from being 5-0 along with Justin Masterson. The loss goes to Jeff Francis, who slips to 0-3 on the season.
With the victory, Cleveland moves back to seven games over .500 and sends Kansas City to 12-12 by dealing the Royals their fifth straight loss. And with Detroit about to lose again to Seattle, the Indians will find their lead in the Central Division increased to a season-high three and-a-half games when they wake up tomorrow.