Bruce Chen wins his fifth straight as Royals take out Indians

CLEVELAND -- Manny Acta has seen the injuries for his team mount on a daily basis.

The Cleveland Indians manager also realizes there isn't anything he can do about it.

"We can't call the commissioner and ask for a month off," Acta said after watching his team drop a 2-1 decision to Kansas City on Sunday.

After rallying to win the first two games of the series, the Indians' revamped lineup, which was without five regulars, was no match for Bruce Chen, who overcame a shaky first inning to win his career-high fifth straight start. Chen (10-5) allowed the first four batters of the game to reach base and walked Carlos Santana with the bases loaded to force in Cleveland's only run. The left-hander, who allowed five hits in 7 1/3 innings, is 4-0 in his last five starts against the Indians.

Justin Masterson (10-8) allowed two runs in six innings and lost for the first time since July 24.

The Indians announced before the game that outfielder Michael Brantley will have surgery to remove a portion of the hamate bone in his right hand this week and will miss the rest of the season.

Cleveland also played without outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, who will miss at least the next few days with soreness in his left side. Designated hitter Jim Thome, acquired from Minnesota on Friday, wasn't in the starting lineup. The addition of Thome paid off immediately for the Indians. Not only did he hit his 602nd career home run Saturday, his return sparked an increase in ticket sales. The three-game series drew 104,615 fans.

Thome, who was cheered by Cleveland fans all weekend, received another standing ovation when he pinch-hit with a man on first in the eighth. He struck out on four pitches by Greg Holland.

Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner and Jason Kipnis are three more Cleveland regulars who are on the DL.

"It's a challenge, but everybody has their issues," Acta said. "I'm not going to sit here and complain. That's part of the game. I knew we couldn't survive some of those injuries. We have to continue to battle."

The Indians lost the tussle with Chen after the first inning. Singles by Ezequiel Carrera, Jason Donald and Asdrubal Cabrera loaded the bases before Santana walked on four pitches to force in a run. Shelley Duncan, swinging at the first pitch, fouled out and Kosuke Fukudome tapped into a pitcher-to-home-to-first double play.

"The first inning killed us," Acta said. "We let him off the hook right there. That's on us."

Cleveland, which entered the game 6½ games behind Detroit in the AL Central, was trying to win three straight for the first time since June 29-July 2.

"We've still got six games against Detroit," Masterson said. "We won this series, although today was a tough one. Detroit's been hot, but we're a team that can stay right there."

Chen gave the Royals a major positive after their bullpen lost leads in the first two games.

"I am feeling good," he said. "I feel like I am throwing my pitches really well. It was a very good day for us."

Mike Moustakas' RBI single broke a 1-1 tie in the third for the Royals, who held on to win after losing late leads in the first two games of the series.

Joakim Soria pitched a perfect ninth for his 24th save.

Both teams loaded the bases with nobody out in the first, but only scored one run. Jeff Francoeur hit into a force play, scoring Alex Gordon, for Kansas City's run before Chen walked in a run.

The game was delayed briefly in the fifth inning when a woman seated near the Indians dugout was struck in the head by a line drive hit by Hosmer. The woman was given medical attention and walked with assistance to a first aid station in the ballpark.

Game notes
Royals SS Alcides Escobar snapped an 0 for 22 skid with an infield hit in the fifth. Rookie C Salvador Perez got the day off. The Royals begin a four-game series in Detroit on Monday night. RHP Luke Hochevar (8-10, 4.91) starts the opener. He got a no-decision in his last start against Toronto when he gave up a three-run homer to Jose Bautista. ... Indians OF Jerad Head made his major league debut after being called up from Triple-A Columbus before the game. He beat out an infield hit in his first at-bat. LHP Nick Hagadone was optioned to Columbus. ... The Indians open a four-game series at home with Oakland on Monday night. LHP David Huff (1-2, 2.70) will start for Cleveland. He allowed five runs in 2 1/3 innings against Detroit in his last start.