Luis Mendoza #39 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium on August 1, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Luis Mendoza pitched into the seventh inning in his first start since a bout with strep throat and the Kansas City Royals beat the struggling Cleveland Indians 6-3 on Friday night.
Mike Moustakas and Brayan Pena each drove in two runs for the Royals, who have won three straight and four of six. Mendoza wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the first and allowed two runs and eight hits in six-plus innings.
The Indians have lost 40 of 52 games since July 26 when they were 50-49 and trailed AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox by 3 1/2 games. They have lost six straight against Kansas City and eight of nine overall in the season series.
Mendoza (8-9), who was scratched from a Wednesday start with the strep throat, had a shaky first inning. Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Kipnis singled with no outs and moved up on Asdrubal Cabrera's sacrifice.
Mendoza then struck out Carlos Santana and issued an intentional walk to Michael Brantley before Travis Hafner grounded out to end the inning.
Kansas City pushed across two runs in the second on RBI singles by Pena and Irving Falu. Moustakas tacked on a sacrifice fly in the third and a run-scoring groundout in the fifth.
Mendoza departed after Ezequiel Carrera led off the seventh with a bunt single. Tim Collins hit Choo with a pitch and yielded a two-out, two-run single to Santana.
Mendoza earned his first victory since Aug. 11. He was 0-1 with four no-decisions since his previous win.
Justin Masterson (11-15) lost his third straight start. He was charged with four runs and seven hits in six innings.
Greg Holland worked the ninth for his 15th save in 18 opportunities.
Brantley singled home Cabrera in the third inning for Cleveland's first run.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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