- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP) - John Buck broke open a tight game with a grand slam for his second homer of the night and had a career-high five RBIs, lifting the Kansas City Royals to a 9-3 win over the struggling Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.

Buck made history on Sunday, hitting the first homer at renovated Kauffman Stadium against the Yankees. Back in the lineup after a day off, he hit a leadoff home run off Carl Pavano (0-2) in the fifth inning, then launched his second career grand slam off Vinnie Chulk in the eighth to put the Royals up 9-3.

Buck’s drives made a winner out of Kyle Davies (1-0), who scuffled through 5 2-3 innings, and gave the suddenly hitting Royals their third-straight win.

Cleveland kept it close early behind a decent start from Pavano and had 10 hits, but watched any chance at a second win this season sail away with Buck’s slam. The Indians remained winless in five road games and dropped to 1-7 overall.

The Royals had 11 hits, including seven for extra bases, and scored one more run than the season’s first five games combined. This from a team that entered Tuesday’s game with a majors-worst .198 average.

Davies did his part, keeping it close by allowing three runs on seven hits. He had a no-decision in his first start of the season after striking out eight in seven scoreless innings against the White Sox on Thursday.

Pavano escaped the glare of the Bronx in the offseason, signing a one-year, $1.5 million deal in Cleveland after four disappointing seasons with the Yankees.

The right-hander had a cringe-inducing debut with the Indians on Thursday, giving up nine runs on 39 pitches (one-plus inning) against Texas. Pavano was much better at the start of this one, breezing through the first two innings with one hit before giving up two runs in the third inning on a run-scoring triple by Coco Crisp and Mike Aviles’ sacrifice fly.

Pavano allowed two more runs in the fifth: on Buck’s leadoff homer and a run-scoring single up the middle by David DeJesus that put the Royals up 4-2. But that was it. Pavano didn’t come out for the seventh inning after allowing four runs on eight hits _ with eight strikeouts _ to drop his ERA more than 60 points. Of course, it was an astronomical 81.00 before.

Notes: Indians manager Eric Wedge gave DH Travis Hafner the night off after the slugger played the previous two games. Hafner had shoulder surgery in the offseason and Wedge doesn’t want him to play more than three games in a row yet. … Royals 1B Billy Butler was 2-for-3 to end a 1-for-22 slump. … Cleveland’s Mark DeRosa was 2-for-4 after going 3-for-26 his first six games.

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