KANSAS CITY, Missouri — From the moment that Ubaldo Jimenez started to warm up in the bullpen, and noticed the run on his fastball, he had a pretty good idea that this night would be unlike any other this season.
Any other in quite a while, for that matter.
The Indians' right-hander baffled the Kansas City Royals while pitching into the eighth inning, Ryan Raburn belted two home runs to pace the Cleveland offense, and the result was a 9-0 win Monday night that salvaged a split of a four-game series.
"It felt really good," said Jimenez, who hadn't won in his past 12 starts. "When I saw the run on my fastball, I said, 'We have to take advantage of that.'"
Jimenez (1-2) certainly did, allowing only two walks and an infield single by Billy Butler over his first seven innings.
Along the way, he started to resemble the pitcher who once threw a no-hitter for the Colorado Rockies and earned a spot in the All-Star game.
"You're always looking to be encouraged," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "but we flew right past encouraged and got sideways. ... That was just so much delight tonight."
The Royals couldn't have gotten a more different outing from Wade Davis.
The right-hander was shelled for the second straight start, this time allowing eight runs and 12 hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings. Davis (2-2) only last 3 2-3 innings his last time out.
"I made some bad decisions and didn't execute," Davis said.
The Royals won the first two games of the series, but were outscored 19-3 over the final two, unable to solve spot starter Corey Kluber on Sunday night and baffled by Jimenez on Monday.
A former All-Star, Jimenez has struggled mightily over the past couple of years, and hadn't won a game since Aug. 9, 2012. He'd lost his last eight decisions, and had been especially dreadful of late, allowing 18 earned runs in 11 innings over his past three outings.
The Royals couldn't solve him, though.
Jimenez faced the minimum number of batters through the first three innings, and would have been flirting with another no-hitter had Butler not hit a grounder to the right of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera with two gone in the fourth. Cabrera was too deep in the hole to throw out Butler at first base, resulting in the Royals' only hit until the eighth inning.
"Any time you have an outing like Ubaldo's," Raburn said, "it makes it all more fun."
Jason Kipnis hit his first home run since Sept. 13 with one out in the first for Cleveland, and Michael Brantley's leadoff double and a base hit by Cabrera in the third made it 2-0.
Davis kept minimizing the damage until the fifth, when Brantley's one-out double again stirred up trouble. Kipnis walked and Cabrera followed with an RBI double. Mark Reynolds added a two-out base hit, and Carlos Santana's run-scoring double pushed Cleveland's lead to 5-0 lead.
Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland came out to visit Davis, but it didn't do much good. Raburn's three-run shot, his first homer since May 15, 2012, finally chased him from the game.
"A tough night. They hit some good pitches off Wade, but they hit some mistakes, too," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Wade wasn't up in the zone, but a lot of the balls they hit were catching a little too much of the plate down."
Mike Moustakas doubled leading off the eighth against Jimenez, and a single by Jeff Francoeur finally ended his night. Reliever Nick Hagadone left both runners stranded by retiring three straight batters, though, preserving Jimenez's fine performance.
"He threw the ball well," Moustakas said. "He got ahead of us early and mixed his pitches well. That's a great pitcher out there. His track record speaks for itself. We had an off-day. He was mixing in three or four pitches. He had a good sinker with good action. He was getting ahead 0-1 and putting us in a hole nearly every at-bat."
Notes: RHP James Shields takes the mound against his former team when Tampa Bay opens a three-game series in Kansas City on Tuesday night. Indians RHP Zach McAllister will be on the mound to open a two-game set in Philadelphia. ... Indians OF Michael Bourn (sliced hand) hopes to play in the next couple of days, possibly on a short rehab assignment. He's eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday.