KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Eddie Rosario kept his bat on his shoulder. Salvador Perez held his glove still to frame the pitch.
Both listened for Dan Bellino to make the call.
The plate umpire waited a tense moment before finally signaling ball on what could just as easily have been strike three, giving Rosario another chance. He swatted the very next pitch into the right-field stands for a tiebreaking three-run homer Monday night that sent Cleveland to an 8-6 win over the Kansas City Royals.
“I was just looking for hard contact,” Rosario said through an interpreter. “I wasn’t looking for a home run.”
He got it. So did Josh Naylor, who added a two-run shot off Royals reliever Jakob Junis (1-2) two batters later that turned what would have been a scoreless seventh inning with Rosario’s would-be punch-out into a five-run frame.
Bryan Shaw (1-0) coughed up a run in relief of Indians starter Aaron Civale, and James Karinchak gave up Hunter Dozier’s two-run homer later in the seventh, before their bullpen finally wrapped up their sixth win in eight games.
Emmanuel Clase worked around a single in the ninth for his sixth save. He’s yet to allow an earned run in 13 1/3 innings.
“We’re playing good baseball. We’re playing aggressive baseball,” Rosario said, “and that’s going to help us win games.”
Naylor finished with three RBIs and Franmil Reyes returned from the paternity list to drive in two more for the Indians. Whit Merrifield hit a two-run homer and Jorge Soler drove in two runs for Kansas City.
Daniel Lynch, the latest in the Royals’ promising pitching pipeline, had little to show for his solid big league debut.
The No. 34 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Lynch overcame some early nerves to allow four hits and four walks and left to a standing ovation with a 3-1 lead. But…