CLEVELAND — Danny Salazar overcame a scary moment and a hot ballclub to remain unbeaten and help the Cleveland Indians snap a four-game losing streak.
Salazar, who hit Alcides Escobar in the head with a pitch in the fifth inning, improved to 3-0 since being called up from the minors while Jason Kipnis homered and drove in four runs to lead the Indians past the Kansas City Royals 7-5 on Wednesday night.
Salazar allowed four runs in six innings. His inside pitch to Escobar hit the Royals' shortstop on the left side of the helmet. Escobar was on the ground for several moments and walked off the field with help from two Royals trainers.
Salazar was visibly upset over the incident and patted his hand in his glove as Escobar, who suffered a bruised left cheek, left the field.
"I was a little bit nervous," Salazar said. "That's not part of my game. I'm never going to try to do that intentionally to a guy."
Escobar ended up with a headache, but didn't go to hospital and didn't have X-rays.
"It hit straight on my helmet, and I was real dizzy when it happened," he said. "I feel OK, not bad, way better than when I got hit."
Royals manager Ned Yost said he didn't think Escobar would go on the disabled list, but it's unclear when he'll return to action.
Although Salazar gave up a 3-2 lead in the sixth when Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer, the Indians bounced back with three in the bottom of the inning.
Kipnis hit a three-run home run — his first since July 31 of last season — in the third and he capped the sixth-inning rally with a run-scoring grounder. Michael Bourn's double gave Cleveland the lead.
Kipnis' big night came one year to the day after he suffered a pulled oblique muscle, a major reason his average fell to .240 with six homers and 41 RBIs.
"I didn't know that," Kipnis said when informed of the anniversary of the injury. "What a difference a year can make. We can put that even more in the past."
Yordano Ventura (2-2) allowed five runs in 5 1-3 innings. The right-hander, who is facing a seven-game suspension and was ejected from his last two starts, kept his poise and didn't retaliate after Escobar was hit.
Kipnis led off the fifth and wasn't sure what to expect when he stepped in against Ventura, who hit Oakland's Brett Lawrie on April 18 .
"I know who was on the mound and what's happened the last couple of weeks," he said. "It's in the back of my head, but when a guy throws that hard there's not much I can do if he comes hunting for me. There's nowhere to really run."
Roberto Perez, breaking an 0-for-18 slump, homered and had three hits.
Cody Allen allowed a run in the ninth, but recorded his fourth save.
The Indians came into the game with the worst record in the AL and won for only the second time in eight home games.
Royals: RHP Greg Holland (right pectoral strain) played catch on the field one day after throwing 15 pitches off the mound and is expected to come off the disabled list on May 3.
Indians: Manager Terry Francona said C Yan Gomes (sprained right knee) has begun to take dry swings. The Indians said Gomes would miss six to eight weeks when he was injured on April 10.
The Indians called up RHP Ryan Webb from Triple-A Columbus and designated OF Jerry Sands for assignment.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy will pitch the opener of a four-game series against Detroit at Kauffman Stadium. He is 1-6 in his career against the Tigers.
Indians: LHP T.J. House takes the mound in the first game of a four-game home set against Toronto. Cleveland has a 7-1 record in his eight career starts at Progressive Field.
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