KANSAS CITY, Mo. — MJ Melendez homered and drove in three runs, late-season revelation James McArthur struck out three straight batters to end an eighth-inning threat, and the Kansas City Royals held on to beat the Cleveland Guardians 7-6 on Tuesday night.
Makail Garcia had three hits and Nick Loftin added two RBIs for the Royals, who have won five of their last six. They also ended a five-series losing streak to the Guardians and will go for the sweep of their AL Central rivals on Wednesday.
Alec Marsh (2-8) earned the win despite a shaky showing after opener Steven Cruz, but it was McArthur who stole the show. His three punch-outs left two in scoring position in the eighth, setting up Collin Snider to handle the ninth for his first career save.
Logan Allen (7-8) allowed four runs on eight hits and two walks for Cleveland in just three innings.
Melendez gave the Royals a 2-0 lead in the first with his 15th homer of the season, and they added two more runs in the third when the small-ball aficionados strung together a double, four singles and a walk.
Cleveland finally scored in the fifth when Josh Naylor followed an error by right fielder Nelson Velázquez with a two-run single, but Kansas City answered back in the bottom half. Velázquez and Nick Loftin drove in runs before Tyler Cropley, making his big league debut, added a sacrifice fly to give the Royals a 7-2 lead.
The Guardians began a comeback in the sixth with Stevan Kwan’s two-out, two-run triple. It continued with a run-scoring triple by Andrés Giménez in the seventh and Bo Naylor’s leadoff homer in the eighth, pulling Cleveland within a run.
That’s when McArthur inherited a two-on, no-out mess and struck out the next three batters to end the inning.
SINGER SHUT DOWN
The Royals ended RHP Brady Singer’s season after he complained of back pain following a shaky outing in the series opener against Cleveland. Singer was just 8-11 with a career-worst 5.52 ERA and did not win after beating Boston on Aug. 8.
BIEBER ON THE BUMP
Guardians right-hander Shane Bieber, who has been out with elbow inflammation, had no problems during his bullpen session Tuesday and will start Friday night’s game against Baltimore. He has not started a game since July 9.
Royals: RHP Brad Keller (thoracic outlet syndrome) returned to the injured list after symptoms returned. He is expected to see a shoulder specialist Wednesday. ... RHP Jonathan Bowlan was recalled from Triple-A Omaha and LHP Anthony Veneziano was selected from the same club. ... INF Matt Beaty was designated for assignment.
Guardians: RHP Michael Kelly (back strain) was activated from the injured list. He took the roster spot of LHP Matt Moore, who was claimed by the Marlins after appearing in five games for Cleveland.
Guardians LHP Lucas Giolito (8-13, 4.59 ERA) tries to snap a four-game losing streak in the series finale Wednesday. Royals RHP Zack Greinke (1-15, 5.39) will try once more to add a second win to the one he earned on May 3 against Baltimore.