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TOR@CLE: Lowe goes seven strong in Indians debut

Road, sweet road.

Perhaps no two teams have enjoyed being away from home more than the Royals and Indians, who will open a three-game series on Tuesday at Progressive Field.

The Indians fell to the Athletics, 5-1, on Sunday, but still completed a 7-2 road trip. The stellar swing started in Kansas City with a three-game sweep of the Royals, who can't wait to leave home.

Kansas City dropped Monday's series finale to Toronto for their 11th straight loss, including a club-record 10 straight at home. Cleveland was responsible for three of those defeats, in which the Tribe scored 32 runs.

In the second of those three victories, the Indians roughed up Royals southpaw Jonathan Sanchez, who will start Tuesday's series opener. Sanchez departed after just 2 2/3 innings, having surrendered five runs on six hits, four walks and a hit batter. That victim, Shin-Soo Choo, took exception to the pitch that struck him in the knee. The benches cleared as Choo jawed at Sanchez, who shattered the right fielder's left thumb with a fastball when pitching for the Giants last June.

"I know he didn't hit me on purpose," Choo said. "But still, I have a memory of last year."

When Indians hurler Jeanmar Gomez commenced the following frame by hitting Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas in the backside, chaos ensued and three Indians players were ejected.

As a result, Gomez will not be present for this series as he serves a five-game suspension issued by Major League Baseball.

"I believe he's trying to protect his teammate," Indians manager Manny Acta said about Gomez. "He went overboard a little bit on that one."

Perhaps cooler heads will prevail this week in Cleveland, where the Indians are 1-4. The Royals opened their season with a 3-3 mark on a brief West Coast visit to Los Angeles and Oakland. Their struggles at Kauffman Stadium, however, have made that respectable start a distant memory.

"We've shown flashes here and there, we just haven't put it together yet," Royals center fielder Mitch Maier said. "It's going to come."

Royals: Club confident in Hosmer's hitting
Eric Hosmer is batting just .203, but his teammates and manager Ned Yost maintain that the first baseman is just fine.

"Hosmer's numbers are no justification for how he's swung the bat," Maier said. "He's hit more balls hard at people in the last week. ... He's swung the bat as well as you can but he hasn't had the luck."

Hosmer appears to be turning it around, however, as he went 2-for-4 on Monday with a second-inning homer.

• Left fielder Alex Gordon has been scuffling at the plate, and Yost pulled him from the leadoff spot. Gordon batted second for the first time in his career on Saturday, and he's been there since, going 3-for-12 with a pair of strikeouts.

Gordon, who hit .303 with 23 homers and 87 RBIs last year, is batting .177 this season, with two homers and five RBIs.

Indians: Donald fills in admirably for Cabrera
Making the Tribe's road trip even more impressive is that they won four of the last six contests without All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who was on the bereavement list while in Venezuela following the death of his grandfather.

"I think it's good for us that we won without one of our best players," Acta said.

Jason Donald filled in for Cabrera in all six games and had five hits, including game-tying and game-winning RBI singles in a 9-8 triumph against Seattle on Tuesday.

"He's played here before every day when Asdrubal broke his forearm [in 2010]," Acta said. "We kind of knew that coming in with guys like him. This is his third year now up here. It's about that time now where guys can feel more settled up here, feel more comfortable out there."

The Indians activated Cabrera from the bereavement list on Monday.

• Derek Lowe will be looking for his second victory over the Royals this season when he toes the rubber on Tuesday. He allowed Kansas City 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings on April 13, but minimized the damage, yielding just three runs in Cleveland's 8-3 win.

The Indians staked him to a seven-run lead in the first inning.

"Any time you're pitching on the road in the other team's home opener, there's going to be a lot of excitement and a lot of buzz," Lowe said. "Our offense silenced them early. You can't ask for anything more as a starting pitcher."

Worth noting
• Cabrera may have returned just in time, as he is hitting .337 with six homers and 45 RBIs in 285 career at-bats against Kansas City.

• The Royals' 10 consecutive losses at home to start the season matched something that hasn't been done in the Major Leagues for 99 years.

The 1913 Yankees went through their first 18 home games without a victory, longest such stretch in history.

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