CLEVELAND (AP) — Ryan Yarbrough won his first game back with Kansas City after being hit in the face by a line drive two months ago and the Royals finally beat Shane Bieber, snapping a six-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the Cleveland Guardians on Sunday.
Yarbrough (2-4) suffered several facial fractures when he was hit on May 7 against Oakland by a line drive clocked at 106.2 mph. But the left-hander worked his way back from the scary incident and limited the Guardians to one run and six hits over six innings.
Carlos Hernández pitched two scoreless innings and Scott Barlow finished up for his 11th save, but not without some nervous moments.
Barlow gave up a pair of two-out singles before Royals center fielder Kyle Isbel raced to his left to make a diving catch and rob Myles Straw for the final out as Kansas City avoided a winless road trip.
Michael Massey hit a two-run triple in Kansas City’s three-run sixth off Bieber (5-6), who came in 6-0 in 14 career starts against the Royals. The right-hander allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Isbel homered for Kansas City, which staggered into the All-Star break at 26-65 — the second-most losses before the break in franchise history.
Cleveland reached the season’s unofficial midpoint in first place in the AL Central and at .500 (45-45) or better for the seventh year in a row.
It’s not certain how much longer Bieber will be around.
The Guardians will consider trading the 2020 Cy Young Award winner, who is only under contractual control through next season, before the Aug. 1 deadline. Cleveland could be enticed to move the 28-year-old for the right package to help them this season or in the future.
Bieber pitched out of a jam in the fourth after allowing a one-out double to Bobby Witt Jr. and single to Salvador Perez by striking out MJ Melendez looking and getting Freddy Fermin to swing at a knuckle curve in the dirt for strike three.
But Isbel led off the fifth with his second homer, a shot over the wall in right-center, to tie it 1-1.
Bieber then hurt himself by hitting Perez — with an 0-2 pitch — and Kansas City’s All-Star catcher scored on Fermin’s double. After Isbel singled, Massey made it 4-1 by pulling his two-out triple into the right-field corner.
Royals: OF Edward Oliveras (oblique strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list but mostly to insure Kansas City was at full strength for the series finale. Manager Matt Quartaro called Oliveras’ injury “extremely mild.” He was scratched from Saturday’s lineup with back tightness.
Guardians: 1B Josh Bell (knee soreness) was held out of the starting lineup after fouling a ball off his knee in Saturday’s win. He pinch-hit in the seventh and grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Royals: It won’t get any easier for Kansas City, which will return from the break to host AL East-leading Tampa Bay. RHP Alec Marsh (0-2, 7.00 ERA) will start the series opener against Rays RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-3, 4.10).
Guardians: Cleveland will open the unofficial second half on the road in Texas for three games against the Rangers (July 14-16) with RHP Aaron Civale (3-2, 2.56) starting the opener.