Jake Odorizzi's major league debut could not have gone much better for the first five innings.
After limiting Cleveland to a pair of singles by Shin-Soo Choo in five scoreless innings, Odorizzi gave up three runs on four hits in the sixth as the Indians routed the Kansas City Royals 15-4 Sunday in their highest-scoring game of the season.
Carlos Santana connected for a two-run shot in the sixth inning off Odorizzi. Santana added his team-leading 18th homer, a three-run drive during a seven-run ninth. His five RBIs matches his career best, while it was his third multihomer game.
"For the majority of the game, I was hitting my spots and throwing the ball where I wanted to," Odorizzi said. "I was happy with everything up until that point. I'd like to have that sixth inning back, but you just can't do that."
Odorizzi (0-1) was one of four players acquired in the 2010 trade for Zack Greinke. The 22-year-old righty who went 15-5 with a 3.03 ERA in the minors this year will compete for a rotation slot in spring training.
"I thought he did a great job of getting ahead of the hitters," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "They were swinging through 91 miles per hour fastballs like they were 96 miles per hour fastballs. So he's created some deception in delivery, commanded the ball extremely well. I thought did a really nice job, good enough to warrant another look."
"I was proud of him. I thought he did an outstanding job for his first start. He's got all the intangibles. He fields his positions. He commands the baseball. He changes speeds. He's got great composure and a great competitive nature."
After Odorizzi left, six Kansas City relievers combined to give up 12 runs on 10 hits and seven walks in 3 2-3 innings.
"Not much to talk about besides Jake Odorizzi on the pitching side," Yost said.
After retiring Choo to lead off the sixth, Odorizzi allowed three runs on four consecutive hits. Jason Kipnis tripled and scored on Asdrubal Cabrera's single before Santana's homer.
"It was fastball to Santana that caught too much of the plate and he was ready for it," Odorizzi said.
The loss officially eliminated the Royals from playoff contention and assured them of another losing record. Kansas City has not made the postseason since winning the 1985 World Series, the longest active playoff drought in the majors.
David Huff (2-0) held the Royals to one run on three hits over 5 2-3 innings.
Santana's first homer put the Indians ahead 3-1. Cleveland combined four singles, three walks and two Kansas City errors in the seventh. The Royals used three relief pitchers with Vin Mazzaro retiring none of the four batters he faced.
Casey Kotchman and Jack Hannahan hit RBI singles and Cabrera drove in a run with a groundout. The other two Cleveland runs that inning scored after throwing errors by right fielder Jeff Francoeur and catcher Adam Moore.
The Indians added six of their seven runs in the ninth off Jeremy Jeffress, who threw only 18 strikes in 40 pitches. He walked three, including Choo with the bases loaded.
Moore, who was making his Royals debut, homered in the third. It was his first homer since Sept. 7, 2010 while with Seattle.
Francoeur had three hits and drove in a run. Billy Butler contributed a run-producing double, upping his RBIs total to 101.
NOTES: The Royals have had only one winning season since 1994, going 83-79 in 2003. ... The Royals open their final trip of the season with the first four games at Detroit. RHP Luke Hochevar, who has allowed 20 runs in 14 2-3 innings in his past three starts against the Tigers, will start Monday night against Justin Verlander.