Royals sweep series with 6-2 win over Guardians

Nelson Velazquez homered to lead the Kansas City Royals past the visiting Cleveland Guardians 6-2, completing a three-game sweep Wednesday afternoon.

After a pair of first-inning Guardians errors, Velazquez pounded his 15th homer above the left field bullpen for a 3-0 lead. It was the 37th home run surrendered by Guardians starter Lucas Giolito, third most in baseball.

Giolito (8-14) allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings, walking three with six strikeouts. He has lost six of his last seven starts and 3 of 4 for Cleveland.

Andres Gimenez’s RBI single and Myles Straw’s sacrifice fly rallied the Guardians for a pair of fourth-inning runs, driving Royals starter Zack Greinke from the mound.

Greinke allowed two runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings, throwing first-pitch strikes to 13 of 16 batters. With his five strikeouts, he moved past Bret Saberhagen for fourth in Kansas City history at 1,094.

Angel Zerpa (3-3) recorded his second consecutive long-relief win, striking out four and allowing three hits while retiring 16 of 19 batters over 5 1/3 shutout innings. It was Zerpa’s career-long relief appearance.

Bobby Witt Jr.’s two-out RBI single extended the Royals’ lead to 4-2 in the fourth. Edward Olivares added an RBI grounder in the seventh.

A third Guardians’ miscue allowed Witt to score with two out in the eighth, capping the scoring.

Witt, Nick Loftin and Drew Waters each had two of Kansas City’s 10 hits and Waters stole two bases.

The Royals (51-102) have won seven of eight, sweeping the Guardians for the first time since April 12-14, 2019, also at Kauffman Stadium.

Josh Naylor collected two of Cleveland’s eight hits.

The Guardians (72-81) suffered their fourth series sweep and first since July 31-Aug. 2 at Houston. Despite the sweep, Cleveland won the season series against Kansas City, winning 7 of 13 games, and they have not lost a season series to the Royals since 2015.

Cleveland fell nine games behind the Minnesota Twins, who rallied for a 5-3 win at Cincinnati, reducing their magic number to one.