KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP) - While failing to get a win on his 24th birthday, Aaron Laffey may have landed a job.
The left-hander, who almost made the rotation in spring training, went 5 1-3 innings and allowed only two runs Wednesday while Cleveland picked up its first road win and avoided a three-game sweep with a 5-4 victory over Kansas City.
Travis Hafner’s second double keyed a three-run seventh inning for the Indians, who hadn’t been swept in KC since 2006 and were 0-5 on the road this year.
Asked if Laffey pitched well enough in his first start to stay in the rotation, manager Eric Wedge sounded encouraging.
“He pitched well enough to earn that,” Wedge said. “I thought Laffey was good. I was very impressed with his effort. He gave us every opportunity to win the game and we took it from there.”
Called up from Triple-A Columbus to replace the injured Scott Lewis, Laffey gave up three hits and two runs, with three walks and five strikeouts.
“It’s a pretty good way to celebrate my birthday,” he said. “I’m only 24, but I feel old.”
Jensen Lewis (1-0) issued three straight walks in the bottom of the seventh but still got the victory with 1 2-3 innings of relief. Kyle Farnsworth (0-2) gave up three runs while getting only one out in relief for the Royals.
After the Royals tied it 2-all in the sixth, Asdrubal Cabrera doubled leading off the seventh against Farnsworth and scored on an RBI single by Mark DeRosa, who has a five-game hitting streak and seven RBIs in eight games.
After Victor Martinez walked, Hafner hit an RBI double and Shin-Soo Choo made it 5-3 with a sacrifice fly.
The victory made the struggling Indians 1-5 on the road heading to New York for a four-game series that will open the new Yankee Stadium. It broke a six-game road losing streak dating back to last year.
“It’s baby steps,” Wedge said. “We just want to make sure we show up and expect good things to happen.”
Jensen went 1 2-3 innings and was charged with two runs and four hits, including Mike Jacobs’ 429-foot home run into straightaway center in the eighth.
Just before Jacobs’ homer made it 5-4, Mark Teahen singled but was thrown out at second on a good throw by right fielder Shin-Soo Choo.
“I like the aggressiveness there, especially because I know Mark knew it was a left-handed-throwing outfielder,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said. “Nine times out of 10 he’s not going to be able to field it like that and throw it to second base. The one time he does, the guy behind him hits a home run.”
Wedge said he was not surprised his outfielder made the play.
“He has a great arm. He really picked us up throwing Teahen out at second base. That was huge.”
Kerry Wood pitched the ninth for his first American League save.
“You never like to go long without pitching,” said Wood, who had 34 saves for the Cubs last year. “I got in the last (game) before we left home and felt fine. I felt good again today. They (saves) come in bunches and you’ve got to be prepared on the flip side of pitching three or four days in a row. It’s the life of a reliever.”
Royals starter Sidney Ponson went six innings and gave up two runs and six hits, with three walks and three strikeouts.
The Indians scratched out a run in the third when Tony Graffanino walked, moved up on a sacrifice and scored on Grady Sizemore’s RBI single. They took a 2-0 lead in the sixth when Hafner doubled and scored on Ryan Garko’s RBI single.
Coco Crisp walked leading off the Kansas City seventh and went to third on Willie Bloomquist’s single. David DeJesus’ infield grounder brought home Crisp and then Joe Smith came out of the bullpen and struck out John Buck.
Lewis then relieved Smith and walked Teahen, Jacobs and Alex Gordon, all on full counts. Gordon’s walk brought in Bloomquist with the tying run before Miguel Olivo’s grounder ended the inning.
Notes:@ Cliff Lee will go against CC Sabathia on Thursday in a matchup between the past two AL Cy Young winners as Cleveland and New York open Yankee Stadium. Sabathia, who signed a seven-year, $161 million contract with New York, won the Cy Young in 2007 with Cleveland. … 3B Gordon struck out in the second inning, giving him strikeouts in four consecutive at-bats. Sizemore made an outstanding running catch of Gordon’s sinking liner leading off the fifth. … Farnsworth’s ERA in 3 1-3 innings is 16.20. Both of the bullpen’s losses belong to him. … Sizemore tried to score from third on a wild pitch in the ninth but was tagged out by Olivo.