T.J. House takes the mound Saturday night against the Royals and looks to further ensconce himself in his new role as the team's No. 5 starter.
House, a rookie who did not begin the season on the roster, has filled in admirably while Zach McAllister recovers from a lower back strain injury that landed him on the disabled list in late May. In fact, House's solid performance at the Major League level has allowed the Indians to be cautious with McAllister's return.
House has posted a 4.28 ERA in seven appearances (six starts) thus far. He'll be opposed by Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie (5-6, 3.69 ERA).
House comes off a solid start that resulted in a 3-0 Cleveland loss. He allowed two runs (one earned) and six hits plus one walk in six innings, but he took the loss against the Mariners on Sunday.
The start followed a demotion to Triple-A on June 16.
"I had a little time to go down to Triple-A for a few days and work on some things I felt I needed to improve on," House said. "Definitely felt a little better out there. ... Overall, just the competitiveness, being able to execute what I wanted to do out there felt better."
In order to notch his first MLB victory, House must tame Lorenzo Cain and Christian Colon, the No. 1 and No. 9 hitters, respectively, who sparked the Royals to a 7-1 series-opening win Friday.
Colon earned his first Major League start when second baseman Omar Infante was scratched with lower back stiffness. Colon responded with a triple, two doubles and three runs scored.
He can thank Cain for the first two runs, as the Royals' leadoff man drove Colon in twice with a single in the third and a double in the fifth to put Kansas City ahead, 2-0. Mike Moustakas added a three-run home run in the sixth for insurance.
The two hits snapped an 0-for-10 slump for Cain that included six strikeouts over his last three games.
Indians: Brantley building All-Star case
Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley continued to make a case for being named to the American League All-Star team with another big game in the Indians' losing effort Friday.
Brantley finished 2-for-4 at the plate and cracked his 13th home run in the ninth inning to end Royals starter Yordano Ventura's shutout. His slash line sits at .314/.381/.510 with nine games remaining until the All-Star break.
Brantley also recently notched his 10th outfield assist, which places him tied with A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes for the most in the Majors.
Royals: Guthrie faces former team
Guthrie receives an opportunity to beat the team that drafted him Saturday.
The Indians selected Guthrie in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2002 Draft. He spent three forgettable seasons with the big league club, managing just 37 innings and a 6.08 ERA from 2004-06.
Guthrie's performances against his former team in the following eight years have been just as rough. In 12 games (10 starts) against the Tribe, he holds a 5.37 ERA.
Cleveland battered Guthrie in an April 21 matchup this season. He allowed 10 hits and four runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 4-3 loss.
• Friday's loss dropped the Indians to 11-6 at home against the Royals dating back to September 2012. Cleveland has won four of the last five series vs. Kansas City at home.
• Nick Swisher has batted .372 in 43 at-bats against Guthrie with a pair of homers, one triple and seven doubles.