- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Royals’ search for a fifth starter evidently will continue after two of the favorites for the job did little to help their cause Tuesday.

Brian Flynn gave up three runs while failing to make it through three innings, Dillon Gee entered and gave up three more runs, and the Royals lost to the Cleveland Indians 7-3 on a hot, muggy night.

“We’re just looking for a guy right now,” said manager Ned Yost, who shuffled Chris Young off to the bullpen weeks ago. “We’ve got time to think about it. We’ve got an off day on Thursday, so we’ll be able to skip that spot the next time around. We’ll probably take advantage of that and consider all of our options.”

He would love to have someone like Danny Salazar to nail it down.

The Indians’ right-hander allowed three runs over 6 2/3 innings while striking out seven, beating the Royals for the third time this season. Salazar (11-3) tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings in a 7-1 victory in early May and allowed one run over eight innings in 6-1 win last month.

“You’re facing an All-Star pitcher in Salazar,” Yost said. “He’s not an All-Star for nothing.”

Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer off Flynn (1-1), and Carlos Santana drove in two runs off Gee, as the Indians snapped a five-game skid at Kauffman Stadium. Francisco Lindor added a solo shot in the ninth.

“”I was just trying to bust him in there, knowing he was going to be swinging two-and-oh, trying to get in and get a soft ground ball,” Flynn said of the first-inning homer by Napoli. “I just tried to get it in, saw him off or try to get weak contact, but it stayed right over the middle.”

The home run allowed Salazar to pitch with the lead the entire way. He didn’t allow a runner past first base through the first five innings, striking out Alex Gordon twice along the way. And when he seemed to falter in the oppressive weather in the sixth, with Salvador Perez driving in a run and Kendrys Morales scoring on a wild pitch, Salazar still managed to escape the inning.

He gave up a sacrifice fly in the seventh before Kyle Crockett finished the frame.

Most of the Indians’ offense came from the same kind of small ball that carried the AL Central-rival Royals to the World Series title last season. They scored a run in the second on a single, a walk and two sacrifices, then added three more in the fifth on a double, three singles, a walk and a fielder’s choice.

It was a nice way to rebound after Cleveland blew a late lead in a 7-3 loss the previous night,

“I was really pleased the way we handled it,” Francona said.

STATS AND STREAKS

Indians OF Erik Gonzalez had a single in the third for his first career hit. … Salazar has won seven straight, a career best. … Lindor has hit 24 career homers. Nineteen of them have been solo shots. … Gee matched the longest relief outing of his career.

HOT SEATS

Yost and Francona may change up their lineups for the series finale on Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to approach 100 degrees for the afternoon start with a heat index well into triple digits. “We’re going to see tonight who needs a break,” Yost said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Indians: OF Michael Brantley will have an MRI on Wednesday after experiencing pain in his right shoulder. He had surgery last November and played in only 11 games this season before landing back on the DL. Brantley has been on a rehab assignment at Double-A Akron since July 11.

Royals: RHP Kyle Zimmer, one of the club’s top prospects, has been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and will miss the rest of the season. The former first-round draft pick will have surgery in the coming weeks. The Mets’ Matt Harvey had surgery for the same condition Monday.

UP NEXT

The Royals’ Ian Kennedy is 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA in daytime starts this season. He goes against fellow right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who is 4-2 with a 1.94 ERA in seven road starts.

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