Indians beat Royals 9-5 to climb above .500
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Back above .500, the Cleveland Indians are focused on getting back to the playoffs.
Carlos Santana drove in three runs, Yan Gomes homered and the Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 9-5 Saturday night to move above .500 for the first time since April 9.
Two years after winning their final 10 games to earn a wild-card berth, the Indians (77-76) have a winning record for the first time since they were 2-1. They remained three games back in the AL wild-card race.
“It was awful difficult, but that can’t be our goal, obviously,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of getting above .500. “But shoot, man, I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel good to get there.
“It needs to be a jumping off point, not a goal. It’s been a lot of hard work those guys have gone into to get us back to kind of being respectable and being in this race. It is good, but we need to go.”
The Royals, who wrapped up the AL Central title with a victory Thursday, fell to 9-15 in September.
They no longer control their own destiny for home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. With the loss and the Toronto’s victory over Tampa Bay, the Blue Jays and Royals share the AL’s best record at 89-65. However, Toronto holds the tiebreaker by beating Kansas City in the season series.
“We’ll find out,” manager Ned Yost said when asked how his team will respond with eight games remaining, seven on the road. “We’ll see. I’ve got a lot of confidence in this group. But again, we just worry about ourselves. We’ve got to go out and win baseball games. That’ll take care of everything.”
Indians relievers Zach McAllister (4-4), Jeff Manship, Kyle Crockett and Bryan Shaw held the Royals hitless over the final 5 1-3 innings.
“All we can do is win,” said Manship, who retired all six batters he faced. “We can’t pay attention to what else is going on. We kind of can, but at the same point if we’re not winning games it doesn’t even matter. If we can win out from here on out and see what happens. We’ve just got to keep playing how we are.”
Santana hit a two-run triple in the first and drove home another run in the three-run sixth with a fielder’s choice grounder.
Gomes homered in the third. Jose Ramirez went 3 for 5 with a double and triple. He scored three runs and drove in another.
Rookie Francisco Lindor had two hits, a sacrifice fly, drove in a pair of runs and scored a run.
Royals right-hander Kris Medlen (5-2) was pulled after 3 2-3 innings, yielding six runs on nine hits, including six for extra bases, a walk and a wild pitch.
Indians starter Josh Tomlin also failed to make it through five innings, allowing five runs on seven hits.
Ben Zobrist homered for the Royals, while Salvador Perez contributed a two-run double.
Royals left-handed reliever Franklin Morales gave up hits to the only two batters he faced and both scored in the sixth. Morales has retired only one of the past seven batters he has faced.
Indians: RF Lonnie Chisenhall suffered hamstring cramps beating out an infield single in the third and was removed. . OF Michael Brantley (right shoulder injury) missed his fourth straight game. . 3B Giovanny Urshela (right shoulder injury) will be re-examined Monday in Cleveland.
Royals: DH Kendrys Morales was hit by a pitch above his right ankle in the eighth inning and after being checked out by a trainer, Paulo Orlando ran for him. Yost said it was a bruise and listed Morales as day-to-day.
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar will be making his fourth start this season against the Royals. He is 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA in the first three.
Royals: RHP Chris Young will make his 17th start, but his first since July 28.