- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Indians’ Michael Bourn has been around long enough to know that everybody has a nemesis.

For Corey Kluber, it happens to be the Royals.

The reigning AL Cy Young winner went the distance on Wednesday night but still lost to Kansas City for the third time this season. Cleveland only managed a couple of runs against Jason Vargas and the Royals’ stingy bullpen in a 4-2 defeat.

“You always have a nemesis, but it’s just trying to get over that,” Bourn said of the Indians’ staff ace. “He’s a great pitcher. He didn’t win the Cy Young by accident. I’m pretty sure he’d love to face them again. We’re not worried about that. We want him on the mound.”

Mike Moustakas drove in a run off Kluber (3-6) in the first, and Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales added consecutive RBI doubles to give the Royals the lead in the third.

“It was just a matter in that one inning, I didn’t execute pitches,” Kluber said. “I just didn’t quite get balls to where they needed to be and left them too far over the plate.”

Vargas (4-2) made the lead stand up in his second start back from the disabled list. The left-hander used a pair of double plays to wiggle out of jams, and limited the streaking Indians to two runs on eight hits while striking out three without a walk.

Greg Holland pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save.

“We started the game off great. We just had some great at-bats,” said Royals manager Ned Yost, whose team had scored three runs or fewer in seven of their last eight games. “They were aggressive and when they were getting their pitch, they weren’t missing.”

The Indians, who had won three straight, pulled ahead 2-1 when Brandon Moss doubled home a run in the second inning and Mike Aviles added an RBI single in the third.

That’s when Kansas City’s bats suddenly caught fire. The same bunch of hitters who managed just three runs or fewer in seven of their last eight games put up that many in one inning.

Alcides Escobar started things off in the bottom of the third with a single, and Moustakas added another single. Then, the trio of doubles pushed Kansas City into the lead, earning Kluber a visit from Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway.

Kluber walked Alex Gordon before finally escaping the inning, but the damage was done. The sudden onslaught came after Kluber had surrendered five runs total in his last four starts.

Kluber wound up allowing nine hits over eight innings. He struck out nine, giving him 105 Ks on the season - the quickest Indians pitcher to eclipse 100 since Sam McDowell in 1970.

Vargas didn’t have the same kind of overpowering stuff, but the veteran pitched to contact and allowed one of the game’s best defenses to help him out.

Ryan Madson also wiggled out of trouble in the seventh before the rest of the Kansas City bullpen, which had been starting to show some cracks, nailed down the victory.

“Slumps are funny,” Yost said. “You can get into one and then bang, just when you think you’ll never get it out of it, you get out.”

RISP-ECT

After going 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position in a 2-1 loss on Tuesday night, the Royals went 4 for 5 in the same situations on Wednesday night.

SORRY GUYS

Major League Baseball apologized to the Royals on Wednesday for a breakdown in its replay process that cost them a crucial out on Tuesday night. The Indians wound up scoring the go-ahead run after a controversial safe call at first base stood through a challenge.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Indians: OF Michael Brantley got the night off. “He really wanted to play but I thought it’d be good for him,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He’s a little beat up.”

Royals: C Salvador Perez sat out after getting dinged in the helmet Tuesday night. He passed a concussion test and Yost said he would be available if needed.

UP NEXT

Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer has thrown at least seven innings in four consecutive starts, going 2-1 with a 1.53 ERA over that span. He earned a no decision against Kansas City in April.

Royals: RHP Chris Young makes his sixth start since joining the rotation. He is 4-1 with a 1.55 ERA, tops among big league pitchers with at least 40 innings.

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