CLEVELAND -- After managing just one run off Royals starter Ervin Santana, the Indians had two innings to put a rally together. Not an easy task against one of the top bullpens in the Majors.
As it turned out, one inning was all the Tribe needed.
With his club trailing by two in the eighth, Michael Bourn's RBI single triggered a three-run inning that gave the Indians a 4-3 comeback win on Tuesday night at Progressive Field. Jason Kipnis doubled in the tying run and Michael Brantley's sacrifice fly scored Mike Aviles with the go-ahead run, as Cleveland evened the series at one game apiece.
"That's a team victory right there," Brantley said. "You got to look at all the guys that got on in front of me. It wasn't just my at-bat. It's great fighting back like we did. We're never giving up in the dugout, always staying positive. It's a great win."
Ryan Raburn led off the eighth with a walk against Kelvin Herrera, a contributor to the Kansas City bullpen that entered Tuesday with a Major League-low 2.63 ERA. Raburn moved to second when Drew Stubbs grounded out to Herrera and scored on Bourn's single down the third-base line.
After a single by Mike Aviles put runners at first and second, Herrera made way for Tim Collins, who surrendered the double to Kipnis and the sac fly to Brantley.
"It wasn't like their pitchers didn't pitch good," Bourn said. "They pitched real good, even their bullpen dudes. We got some hits off of them, but they weren't bad pitches. I can tell you that right now. I was at second when Kip hit that ball. That was a great pitch that he hit. He did a great job of staying on it and taking what they gave him."
In the ninth, it appeared as though Cleveland's comeback might be short-lived, similar to Saturday's loss against the Washington Nationals. Closer Vinnie Pestano allowed singles to David Lough and Mike Moustakas before striking out Chris Getz. When Alcides Escobar singled to right, Pestano thought he'd just blown the save.
But Lough rounded third and headed for home, stopping halfway when he finally picked up third-base coach Eddie Rodriguez's stop sign. At that point, Lough was too far down the line and he retreated to third, where Moustakas was standing on the bag.
"I was pretty much caught," Lough said. "I saw the single toward the line so, in that type of situation, I thought I was going to score and came around. By the time I picked Eddie up, I was halfway. So, I take full responsibility for that. It just one of those situations where he was holding me up and I didn't really see him until I got halfway."
Though Lough made the baserunning error, it was Moustakas who was out at third. Lough almost made it a double play, when he momentarily came off the base.
"Luckily, I had about seven guys shouting at me about what to do," said Pestano, who had the ball last in the rundown. "I chose the thing that I heard twice and tagged Moustakas."
Indians manager Terry Francona added: "That's why you tag everybody. Tag everybody in sight. Umpire, everybody. Hope somebody gets off the bag."
After walking Alex Gordon, Pestano induced a game-ending groundout from Eric Hosmer for his second save.
"We about did everything tonight except lose, and that's good," Francona said.
Kansas City had what seemed like a comfortable two-run lead in the eighth, thanks to a Cleveland miscue. Hosmer hit a soft roller to reliever Cody Allen, who fielded the ball and threw it past first baseman Mark Reynolds. Hosmer raced all the way to third and scored on a single by Salvador Perez to make it 3-1.
"That was a big run, that tack-on run in the eighth," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "At that point, you're looking down in the bullpen and you've got Herrera, Collins and [Greg] Holland to protect a two-run [lead]. We don't give up the lead coming into the eighth inning very often, but we did tonight."
Allen (2-0) earned the win, allowing the unearned run and one hit.
Tribe starter Ubaldo Jimenez allowed only two hits in 5 2/3 frames, but a pair of wild pitches in the third inning led to runs for the Royals.
Jimenez began the third by issuing free passes to Escobar and Gordon, both moving up on a wild pitch during Hosmer's at-bat. Hosmer drove in Escobar with a grounder to short. Then, with Perez batting, another wild offering from Jimenez allowed Gordon to score from third base.
"I felt good. I was able to compete," Jimenez said. "I lost my rhythm a little bit in that inning that they scored two runs. I threw too many balls. I walked four guys. That's not good. But I was able to keep the team close."
Santana held the Indians in check for seven innings, yielding only an RBI single in the sixth to Aviles. In addition to allowing three hits and one run, Santana walked two and struck out six over seven innings.
"He's a good pitcher, hands down," Brantley said. "We did a great job of getting him out of the game. That's what you got to do. You got to get him out of the game. And we did that, got to their bullpen and were able to get a couple runs."
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.