Luis Mendoza pitched into the seventh inning in his first start since a bout with strep throat and the Kansas City Royals beat the struggling Cleveland Indians 6-3 on Friday night.
Mike Moustakas and Brayan Pena each drove in two runs for the Royals, who have won three straight and four of six. Mendoza wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the first and allowed two runs and eight hits in six-plus innings.
The Indians have lost 40 of 52 games since July 26 when they were 50-49 and trailed AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox by 3 1/2 games. They have lost six straight against Kansas City and eight of nine overall in the season series.
Mendoza (8-9), who was scratched from a Wednesday start with the strep throat, had a shaky first inning. Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Kipnis singled with no outs and moved up on Asdrubal Cabrera's sacrifice.
Mendoza then struck out Carlos Santana and issued an intentional walk to Michael Brantley before Travis Hafner grounded out to end the inning.