Jeremy Guthrie's month-long hot streak came to an abrupt end Saturday night.
The Cleveland Indians ripped the right-hander for six runs in four-plus innings, cruising to a 7-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Guthrie (5-7) had gone 3-0 with a 2.36 ERA in his previous four outings, but gave up a season-high 11 hits in his shortest start since July 21, 2013. It was his first loss since June 6, against the Yankees.
"They just hit everything tonight — kind of put the ball where we weren't — and it kept piling up," Guthrie said. "I felt good, but they placed the ball right where it had to be a number of times. If those balls had gone 5-10 feet in another direction, there were about six or eight of them that wouldn't have gone for hits."
Kansas City fell to 11-3 in its last 14 road games, including 3-2 on its current nine-game trip. The Royals remained four games behind first-place Detroit in the American League Central Division.
The Indians scored three runs in both the third and fifth innings, chasing Guthrie in the latter before he recorded an out. Nick Swisher's two-run single ended his night and prompted manager Ned Yost to bring on Francisley Bueno.
Guthrie, who was the Indians' first-round draft pick in 2002, fell to 4-5 in 12 appearances against his first big league team. He struck out five and allowed his major league-leading 15th homer to a left-handed batter, surrendering a leadoff shot to Michael Bourn in the third.
"Jeremy wasn't all over the place, but he was all over the strike zone and struggled with his command," Yost said. "That's a club that can really put runs on the board in a hurry, and they made him pay right from the get-go."
Kansas City third baseman Danny Valencia went 3 for 4 with a solo homer, upping his average to .667 (10 for 15) since June 24. Shortstop Alcides Escobar extended his hitting streak to eight games and is 11 for 28 (.393) during the run.
The Royals loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth against Cleveland closer Cody Allen, allowing them to bring the tying run to the plate twice.
Valencia and Escobar delivered consecutive singles, which were followed by a walk to Jarrod Dyson. Allen struck out Lorenzo Cain, then induced Eric Hosmer into a game-ending double play.
"I think I had Cain in swing-mode because he swung at ball four (on a full-count pitch)," Allen said. "I was trying to use Hosmer's aggressiveness against him because he was trying to tie it up right there."
Indians left-hander T.J. House (1-2) earned his first big league win in his seventh career start, allowing three runs in 6 2-3 innings.
Cain doubled and scored in the first, Omar Infante drove in Hosmer in the sixth, and Valencia led off the seventh with his second home run of the season.
"We had our chances, for sure," said Kansas City designated hitter Billy Butler, who had two hits and ended an 0-for-12 slump. "We had them early and late, but couldn't come up with that one big hit that could have changed things. It is frustrating."
Infante went 2 for 4 with an RBI after being a late scratch Friday with lower back stiffness. The second baseman battled the same ailment earlier in the season.
"Omar tried to play through it the last time, but I think we caught it early in this case," Yost said.
Royals left fielder Alex Gordon snapped an 0-for-16 slump with a sixth-inning single, but is 3 for 40 (.075) over his last 11 games.
Bueno tossed three scoreless innings before the Indians scored their final run off Casey Coleman in the eighth.
NOTES: Escobar stole second base in the ninth, making him successful on 78 of 84 attempts since the start of 2012. ...Royals OF Nori Aoki (left groin strain) was eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Saturday, but Yost said he will be sent on a rehab assignment "in the next couple of days." The seven-time Japanese Central League all-star has been sidelined since June 21....Royals 3B Mike Moustakas, who is hitting .152 against lefties, was given the day off with House on the mound....Royals LHP Danny Duffy (5-7) takes on RHP Corey Kluber (7-6) in the three-game series finale Sunday.