Is it possible to view a $12 million expenditure as a bargain?

Right-hander Ervin Santana is doing his best to make it look that way after delivering another dominant performance Saturday in the Royals’ 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium.

Salvy Perez provided the Royals with an early lead by hitting a two-run homer in the second inning, and Santana took it from there … with a little late help from Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland.

Santana, 3-1, threw seven magnificent innings for his fourth straight quality start. He allowed five hits, all singles, while striking out five, walking none and lowering his ERA to 2.00.

Kelvin Herrera inherited the three-run lead to start the eighth against the top of the Cleveland order — and immediately yielded a leadoff double to Michael Brantley.

A wild pitch moved Brantley to third before striking out Kipnis and retiring Asdrubal Cabrera on a pop to third. Herrera jumped ahead 1-2 on Nick Swisher before walking him.

Herrera ended the inning by striking out Jason Giambi.

Holland struggled through a two-run ninth before gaining his sixth save in seven chances. The Indians put runners on base with an infield single and an error before Brantley ripped a two-run triple into the right-center gap.

But Holland closed the victory by striking out Jason Kipnis. The Royals, 12-8, maintained their lead in the American League Central Division by one game over second-place Detroit.

The Royals acquired Santana in an off-season trade with the Los Angeles Angels by agreeing to pick up all by $1 million of his $13 million salary in his final season before he becomes a free agent.

Santana has allowed just four runs over 30 innings in his last four starts.

Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir, 0-1, wasn’t particularly efficient — he threw 99 pitches in five innings — but still limited the Royals to two runs before exiting.