Indians stay alive
Published 1:49 am Thursday, September 25, 2014
CLEVELAND (AP) — Yan Gomes hit a three-run homer, Michael Brantley got three more hits and the Cleveland Indians stayed in the AL wild-card chase for at least one more day with a 6-4 win over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night.
A loss would have eliminated the Indians, but after blowing a 3-0 lead, they rallied and moved within 3 1/2 games of Kansas City and Oakland in the wild-card standings. There are four days left in the regular season.
The Royals, who haven’t made the playoffs since 1985, fell two games behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central.
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Zach McAllister (4-7) pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings and Cody Allen worked the ninth for his 23rd save.
Brantley has hit safely in 15 straight games and needs one more hit to be the first Indians player with 200 in a season since Kenny Lofton in 1996.
The Indians took the lead in the fifth off rookie Brandon Finnegan (0-1) on Carlos Santana’s RBI groundout. Cleveland added a run in the sixth on pinch-hitter David Murphy’s sacrifice fly.
Cleveland entered the unusual series — the teams completed a suspended game on Monday — 3 1/2 games behind the Royals and the Indians ended in the same place. Unfortunately for them, they wasted a chance to pull closer and now have to win their final three games and hope for help from other teams to play in the postseason.
Billy Butler had three RBIs for Kansas City, which can lock up one of the two wild cards by winning one of four games in Chicago against the White Sox starting Thursday.
Their flimsy playoff hopes fading, the Indians scored twice in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead.
Jason Vargas hit Michael Bourn with a pitch to open the inning and Royals manager Ned Yost pulled the left-hander, who has just one win in his last seven starts.
Jose Ramirez doubled off the wall and the speedy Bourn, waved around by third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh, scored the tying run on a headfirst dive into the plate, reaching in with his left hand to avoid catcher Salvador Perez’s tag. Ramirez moved up on a fielder’s choice and scored on Santana’s grounder.
Trailing 3-1, the Royals scored three runs in the fifth to chase Indians starter Trevor Bauer, who coasted through three innings and was fortunate to escape trouble in the fourth.
Eric Hosmer hit an RBI single and Butler doubled in two runs.
Gomes’ two-out shot, his 21st homer, to straightaway center gave the Indians a 3-0 lead in the first.
Royals: INF Christian Colon (broken right middle finger) has been sent to the instructional league in Arizona. The Royals may still include him on the postseason roster. Colon was placed on the DL on Sept. 7 after fractured his finger tip while fielding a grounder at third on Sept. 2.
Indians: Nick Swisher rejoined his teammates after undergoing surgery on both knees last month. Swisher tried to play through pain for several months before deciding to have his knees “cleaned out.” He expects to be ready for the start of spring training.
Royals: RHP James Shields (14-8) makes his team-leading 34th start as Kansas City tries to clinch a playoff spot in Chicago. Shields is 20-5 with a 2.48 ERA on the road since the start of 2013.
Indians: The Indians end a stretch of 30 games in 30 days with their final off day of 2014. They open a three-game series vs. Tampa Bay on Friday as Corey Kluber (17-9) tries to strengthen his case