By Jeffrey Flanagan and William Kosileski
CLEVELAND -- Rookie Jorge Bonifacio lined a go-ahead two-run double off Indians reliever Andrew Miller in the eighth inning as the Royals roared back for a 6-4 win on Friday night at Progressive Field.
Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning and Mike Moustakas hit a solo shot in the fifth as the Royals overcame an early four-run deficit.
"It was a great job coming back from 4-0 down," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "[Indians starter Mike Clevinger] was throwing the ball really well and Mossy got us back in the game, and Moose tied it. Then a great at-bat by Boni."
Clevinger went five-plus innings and gave up eight hits and four runs. He struck out six and walked one.
"It's a shame because I thought he threw the ball pretty well," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "On two changeups that both of them he kind of yanked across the plate, kind of went right into Moss' swing path. And it's a shame because he really -- I think he had six strikeouts and only the one walk. That was the last hitter he faced. But you know, the damage was done."
Right-hander Ian Kennedy went five innings and gave up three hits and four runs. He walked two and struck out four. Kennedy allowed a solo home run to Jose Ramirez in the second, and then gave up three runs in the third. Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley hit back-to-back RBI singles, and Lindor later scored on a fielder's choice.
The four runs of support for Kennedy were the most this season in 11 starts and the most for him since Sept. 16.
"It was nice seeing the boys pick me up," Kennedy said. "When Mossy hit that home run, it kind of pumped me up not to let them get anything else."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Game changer: Clevinger was cruising until Eric Hosmer reached on an infield single with one out, and Bonifacio singled with two out in the fourth. That's when Moss launched a three-run homer that pulled the Royals within 4-3. Moss hit a changeup 108 mph, according to Statcast™, that traveled a projected 386 feet.
Uncharacteristic, painful error: The Royals' two-run rally in the eighth started with Lorenzo Cain's sharp single to right off Bryan Shaw. Miller replaced Shaw and Hosmer chopped one toward short that Lindor tried to backhand. The ball skipped under his glove and Cain headed to third. One hitter later, Bonifacio delivered his two-run double. Hosmer had been running on the pitch, allowing him to score easily.
"Just a great read by Hoz there," Yost said.
"I think he committed to the backhand and when it's over and looking back, he probably could've got around it," Francona said. "It's happening quick, then he went to the backhand and it didn't come up as high as he thought. It ends up being a really big play, obviously."
"When you jump out like that, you'd like to think that you're going to either, however you say it, put the foot on the gas, or step -- however you want to say it. But, they never took the lead until the eighth. I still felt like we were going to win. It's not like they came back and went ahead. We just, from the third inning on, didn't do a lot offensively." -- Francona, on blowing a 4-0 lead
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Moss' three-run homer in the fourth snapped an 0-for-35 streak for the Royals with runners in scoring position.
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Left-hander Jason Vargas (5-3, 2.30 ERA) takes the mound against the Indians in the middle game of the series on Saturday at 3:10 p.m. CT. Vargas bounced back from his worst start of the season by holding the Yankees to three runs over six innings on Monday in a 4-2 loss.
Indians: Right-hander Danny Salazar (3-4, 5.55) will start on Saturday against the Royals at 4:10 p.m. ET. Salazar allowed two home runs in his last start, but he held the Astros to three runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings to earn his third win of the season.