KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander Jason Vargas turned in six solid innings, and the Royals delivered five straight hits and three runs on three consecutive doubles in the third off Indians starter Corey Kluber in a 4-2 win on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Vargas, in his second start back from the disabled list, gave up eight hits and two runs, but he walked none and struck out three.
"Vargy hasn't pitched in about nine days," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "So he had a lot of 3-2 pitches early. But then he just got locked in after the third inning. He threw the ball great."
Kluber lost for the third time this season to the Royals. He went eight innings and gave up nine hits and four runs. He struck out nine.
"Fortunately in that third, we had the play where Kip had the good relay, throws the guy out at the plate to kind of eliminate more, but then after that, [Kluber] really buckled down," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We had opportunities, too, and just didn't do much with them."
"We just had good ABs against him," Yost said. "And when we got our pitches, we didn't miss."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Quick start: The Royals jumped on Kluber right away -- on the first two pitches. First, Alcides Escobar lined a double down the left-field line on the first pitch. On the next pitch, Mike Moustakas lined a single to right, scoring Escobar and giving the Royals a 1-0 lead. Moustakas continues to torment Kluber -- going 15-for-31 (.484) in his career.
"It was pretty much our plan to be aggressive with [Kluber] and attack right away," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "That's how we've had success before with him. And Esky set the tone right away with the first pitch."
Kluber's three doubles: With the Indians leading, 2-1, in the third inning and one out, Kluber gave up two singles, three straight RBI doubles and a walk before escaping the inning on a groundout to second. The Royals finished with four doubles against Kluber -- matching his total in five prior away games this season. More >
"It just came down to those five batters that made a difference," Kluber said, "otherwise, everything was good."
Big double plays: The Royals and Vargas benefited from two huge double plays. The first came in the third inning when the Indians already had taken a 2-1 lead and had runners on first and second. Vargas then induced a 6-4-3 double play from Ryan Raburn. Perhaps an even bigger double play came in the fifth. The Indians had runners at the corners with none out. Then Vargas got Mike Aviles to hit a comebacker to the mound. Vargas checked the runner at third, fired to second Omar Infante at second. Infante also checked the runner at third before throwing a bullet to first for the double play. Carlos Santana then hit a fly ball for the third out. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Right-hander Trevor Bauer (4-2, 2.97 ERA) will look to bounce back in Thursday's series finale at 8:10 p.m. ET. Despite last Friday's 2-1 loss to the Mariners, Bauer recorded at least 10 strikeouts for his third time this season. He is 0-1 in four career games against the Royals.
Royals: Right-hander Chris Young (4-1, 1.55 ERA) will make his sixth start of the season in the series finale at 7:10 p.m. CT. Young is coming off his first loss last Wednesday against the Yankees, when he gave up four runs over six innings. He's holding opponents to a .166 average.
Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Jordan Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.