Cleveland scrambled to a 1-4 record on its initial homestand, but erased that memory with seven first-inning runs against Kansas City on Friday. The Indians will try to keep the road momentum going on Saturday, when they match Jeanmar Gomez against Jonathan Sanchez.
Sanchez, who will be starting at home as a Royals pitcher for the first time, was acquired from San Francisco as part of an offseason trade for Melky Cabrera. The 29-year-old left-hander went five innings and allowed two earned runs last week in a road victory over the Angels.
Two marked trends changed Friday: The Royals had held their opponents to three runs or fewer in four of their previous five games, and the Indians had scored more than four runs just once.
Gomez, a 24-year-old right-hander, had been scheduled to start last Tuesday, but the game got rained out and his rotation turn was skipped. He threw two innings of scoreless relief in his season debut, and he went 5-3 with a 4.47 ERA in 11 appearances for Cleveland last year.
Luke Hochevar allowed seven earned runs in the first inning Friday, but prior to that, the KC rotation had allowed just seven earned runs in their first six games. That performance helped the Royals win a series against the Angels and play Oakland tight in a shutout and two one-run losses.
The Indians have homered in all six of their games this season, one of the longest streaks in franchise history. Cleveland last accomplished that feat in 2007, and the club managed to homer in at least nine straight games to start the season three previous times.
Indians: Choo gets club chugging along
Cleveland got a reassuring game from Shin-Soo Choo on Friday, who paced the road team's early attack. Choo, who went into the game hitting just .167, had two hits and drew a walk for Cleveland. The 29-year-old had a career year in 2010, but he struggled with injuries last season.
Choo hit just eight home runs in 2011, and he's yet to go deep this year. But there's a precedent for Friday's outburst: Choo is a career .343 (80-for-243) hitter with 51 RBIs in 65 games against the Royals.
Royals: Gordon starting to heat up
Left fielder Alex Gordon has gone 4-for-8 in his last two games after starting the season on an 0-for-17 skid. Gordon, the second overall selection in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, homered and drove in two runs on Thursday before singling twice in Friday's one-sided loss.
Kansas City's sellout crowd of 40,230 fans in the home opener was the largest since April 2, 2007, against Boston. ... Yuniesky Betancourt has hit safely in his first four starts this season for the Royals. ... Everett Teaford pitched four scoreless innings of bridge relief for Kansas City in Friday's loss. ... Michael Brantley snapped an 0-for-15 skid with a leadoff single in the first inning on Friday.