A rough few days have dropped the Cleveland Indians from first place in the AL Central.
The Indians look to bounce back from their latest home loss to the Kansas City Royals in Wednesday's series finale.One night after pounding out 14 hits to snap a three-game skid with an 8-5 win over Kansas City, Cleveland (27-22) was held to five during Tuesday's 8-2 defeat to the Royals, falling one-half game behind surging Chicago in the Central.Asdrubal Cabrera went 1 for 4 in his return after missing three straight games with a hamstring injury, but the Indians didn't score after the first inning. Cleveland has been outscored 28-18 while losing three of five at home to Kansas City (20-28), which has won three of four overall.Mike Moustakas homered and had a career-high four RBIs while Alex Gordon and Johnny Giavotella each had two hits with an RBI for the Royals. Center fielder Jarrod Dyson went 1 for 4 after he struck out in the ninth inning Monday against Indians closer Chris Perez, who made a gesture toward the outfielder and added to an already contentious relationship between the teams."You've got to beat him out there," Dyson told the Royals' official website. "Talking trash back and forth, that ain't going to get you nowhere until you beat somebody. That's how I look at it."Kansas City's seven runs over the first two innings -- combined with six solid frames from starter Will Smith -- prevented Perez from making an appearance Tuesday."I must confess, that had to be the most boring game I have ever been part of," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "That (five-run) second inning just sucked all the energy out of us. It was pathetic."Wednesday may be more interesting considering Moustakas and the Royals also have a history with scheduled Cleveland starter Jeanmar Gomez (3-3, 3.94 ERA).The right-hander makes his first start versus Kansas City since he was ejected for hitting Moustakas to begin the third inning during Cleveland's 11-9, 10-inning win April 14. The incident came shortly after the Royals' Jonathan Sanchez plunked Shin-Soo Choo to empty both benches.Gomez gave up six runs, six hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings of a 9-3 loss at Chicago on Friday after allowing only an unearned run over 13 1/3 innings in his previous two outings.He is 2-2 with a 3.81 ERA in six starts versus Kansas City.Scheduled Royals starter Bruce Chen (3-5, 4.81) is 2-1 with a 1.44 ERA in four starts at Progressive Field, but he's looking for a better performance than his last outing overall. The left-hander had allowed six runs in 19 2/3 innings while winning three consecutive starts before giving up six in four-plus innings of an 8-2 loss at Baltimore on Friday."It's part of baseball," Chen said. "I have to make better pitches."Cleveland center fielder Michael Brantley, batting .367 with seven RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak, is 5 for 8 versus Chen.It's uncertain if Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner will return for the finale after missing six straight games with a sore knee.