Playing two games for the second consecutive Sunday, the Royals split the first day/night doubleheader in Kauffman Stadium history Sunday against the Cleveland Indians.
Jeremy Guthrie, Tim Collins and Luke Hochevar combined for an eight-hit shutout in the opener, a 9-0 win against Indians ace Justin Masterson.
The same scuffling offense roughed up lefty Will Smith, who made his first big-league start of the season, in the second game, a 10-3 loss.
“It was a long day,” shortstop Alcides Escobar said. “We had a great game that first game, but the second we lost. All we can do is come in and play hard again. … We’ll try to win the series (Monday).”
The regularly scheduled afternoon affair drew a crowd of 22,001, who watched Guthrie string together 62/3 shutout innings despite allowing at least one base runner each inning.
Guthrie, 3-0, scattered six hits and three walks with five strikeouts during his club record-tying 16th consecutive start without a loss.
“It wasn’t my best command, but I thought I made quality pitches,” Guthrie said. “When I missed, I usually missed where I was trying to go. If I tried to go in, I missed in instead of over the middle of the plate.”
Meanwhile, the Royals’ bats cuffed around Masterson, who entered the game with a 1.85 ERA.
Masterson, 4-2, struck out nine, but he also allowed nine hits, four walks and seven earned runs.
Mike Moustakas started second- and fourth-inning rallies with two-out, four-pitch walks.
“He’s seeing the ball better and he’s starting to get there,” manager Ned Yost said of Moustakas, who entered Sunday batting .152 with one RBI on the season but reached safely in his first five plate appearances during the doubleheader.
During the two-run second, Jeff Francoeur followed Moustakas’ walk with an RBI double then scored on Jarrod Dyson’s double.
In the fourth, Francoeur reached on an infield single before Dyson’s RBI single made it 3-0.
An inning later, Escobar clocked a two-out, 352-foot solo blast for his third home run of the season and the 500th big-league hit.
Escobar added an RBI fielder’s choice during a three-run seventh that chased Masterson.
Chris Getz and Alex Gordon, who blasted a 416-foot, two-run bomb to right-center in the eighth, led off with singles.
Escobar’s grounder to second base plated Getz but erased Gordon, and Butler followed with a walk before Eric Hosmer ripped an RBI single to right.
Masterson, whose ERA ballooned to 3.12, gave way to Matt Albers, who promptly plunked Salvador Perez to load the bases then walked Moustakas — the Royals’ fifth bases-loaded walk of the season.
Coming on for Guthrie in the seventh, Collins retired Michael Brantley on a flyout to left, while Luke Hochevar struck out five in two scoreless innings to polish off the shutout — the third of the season for the Royals.
The nightcap, which drew 19,831, didn’t go as well for the Royals, who recalled Smith as the 26th man for the double dip.
Three errors led to four Indians runs, including two in the top of the first when Moustakas booted a smash grounder by Nick Swisher that otherwise might have been an inning-ending double play.
Instead, the Indians went in front on Carlos Santana’s RBI single and an RBI fielder’s choice by former Royal Mike Aviles, who was just getting warmed up.
Aviles added a three-run home run in the third inning and sacrifice fly in the seventh as part of a career-best five-RBI performance.
In between, Drew Stubbs plated a run with his fourth-inning sac fly.
Smith, 0-1, only lasted four-plus innings, giving way to Bruce Chen after walking Swisher to lead off the fifth.
“I fell behind and not too many counts were in my favor,” Smith said. “Fastball counts, I’ve got to throw fastballs and they’re good hitters.”
Two more Royals errors factored heavily into Cleveland’s two-run seventh.
Hosmer dropped a foul pop by Swisher, who singled and later scored on Aviles’ flyout to center, and Getz threw the ball into left field during a botched rundown, allowing Mark Reynolds to score.
No errors were charged in the Indians’ two-run eighth, but a wild throw by Escobar on Brantley’s infield single and a dropped flyball on the warning track by Francoeur on Cabrera’s RBI triple led to the runs.
“It was a tough ballgame all the way around,” manager Ned Yost said. “We just didn’t play well.”
Swisher’s sac fly pushed the lead to 10-2.
Right-handed Corey Kluber, 2-0, picked up the win. He went seven innings, allowing seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
The Royals loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth and even scored a run on Lorenzo Cain’s sacrifice fly against reliever Vinnie Pestano, but the rally fizzled when Hosmer was thrown out trying to take second on the run-scoring flyout to right.