Sizemore slows down slump with homer as Tribe remain in stride, top Royals

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Grady Sizemore finally got a pitch to his liking and enjoyed the results even more.

Sizemore broke out of his slump with a three-run homer, helping the Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 9-4 on Tuesday night.

"The way they've been pitching me, I just looked for something out over the plate," said Sizemore, adding that he had been falling behind in the count too often while going 10-for-61 (.164) before coming up with two on and two outs in the sixth inning.

Sizemore swung at the first pitch he saw from reliever Leo Nunez and lined it over the wall in right for his 28th homer and a 7-3 lead. It was the All-Star center fielder's first homer since July 31.

"It's just one day and obviously this has been a tough stretch," said Sizemore, who reached on an infield single and scored in the ninth.

Nunez came on after starter Luke Hochevar (6-12) left with a team trainer as he was warming up for the sixth. The Royals listed the right-hander as day-to-day with tightness in his right ribcage.

"We're not going to know anything definitive until [Wednesday]," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Thankfully, after he felt it he said something. Generally, when somebody feels something that we think is muscular and it's a pitcher, that's usually not a good sign, but I don't want to be the Grim Reaper until we know more."

Hochevar allowed seven hits and four runs, including solo homers to Shin-Soo Choo and Ryan Garko. The first overall pick in the 2006 draft has lost five straight decisions and is 1-7 in nine starts since July 1.

"I went to warm up and on the first pitch, it took my breath away," Hochevar said. "I tried to throw another pitch and something in my ribcage just grabbed me. I never felt anything like this before. It caught me by surprise."

Anthony Reyes (2-1) gave up two runs and six hits over five innings in his third start for Cleveland. The right-hander was acquired July 26 in a trade with St. Louis.

"I'm throwing strikes and happy with what I'm doing," Reyes said. "I got into a lot of bad habits the last couple of years and I'm working on them. I still have stuff to work on."

The Indians got 13 hits and won for the eighth time in 11 games. They have had 10 or more hits seven times in that span.

Jose Guillen had two hits and two RBIs for the Royals, who fell to 2-10 in their last 12 games. Kansas City has dropped six of seven on a nine-game trip that ends Thursday.

Hillman held a closed-door meeting with his coaches for 20 minutes after the game.

"I would have invited you all in there if I had wanted you to know what it was," Hillman said. "We were talking about game situations and looking for ways to try to get better."

Reyes walked Mike Aviles to open the game. He moved up on a groundout and scored on David DeJesus' double to right-center.

Choo tied it with his fifth homer with one out in the second. Later in the inning, Kelly Shoppach added an RBI double and scored on a single by Asdrubal Cabrera to make it 3-1.

Shoppach snapped out of a 3-for-31 slump with the double, but later struck out twice. He has struck out 20 times in his last 37 at-bats.

Garko opened the fourth by hitting his 10th homer just over the wall in left.

"Grady got the big hit," Garko said. "There's a big difference between a four-run lead and one run."

Since being pulled from a game Aug. 6 at Tampa Bay for failing to run out a ball, then being benched the next game, Garko has hit .405 with 12 RBIs over his last 10 games.

"Ryan has stepped it up," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "His approach is better, his discipline is better."

Jason Smith's one-out RBI single off Brendan Donnelly got the Royals within 4-3 in the sixth. Miguel Olivo was thrown out trying to go from first to third on the play. Aviles followed with a single, but Donnelly got DeJesus on a called third strike with the bases loaded to end the rally.

Sizemore reached on an infield single in the eighth and scored on Franklin Gutierrez's double. Gutierrez advanced on a wild pitch and throwing error by catcher Olivo on the same play.

Game notes
The Royals signed RHP Kip Wells and optioned LHP Josh Newman to Triple-A Omaha. Wells gave up two walks, three hits and two runs in 1 1/3 innings. ... Indians C Victor Martinez went 1-for-2 with two RBIs and a walk for Triple-A Buffalo in a rehab assignment. Martinez caught for the first time since having right elbow surgery June 13. ... Royals 3B Alex Gordon, in a 4-for-21 slump, didn't play. Hillman said Gordon had a stiff back and hopes to be in the lineup Wednesday. ... The Royals made two errors and have nine in seven games. ... Indians OF Ben Francisco, hitting .362 (25-for-69) in his last 17 games, got a day off.