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Kansas City at Cleveland

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Kansas City000010000161
Cleveland «00003000x360

Indians keep rolling, maintain AL wild-card lead

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Win after win, the Cleveland Indians stay atop the AL wild-card race while trying to close even more on the Chicago White Sox.

Casey Blake and Grady Sizemore hit consecutive fifth-inning homers in a 3-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night that kept Cleveland a half-game ahead of the New York Yankees in the wild-card chase.

Scott Elarton (10-7) gave up one run and five hits in 7 2/3 innings as the Indians won for the 10th time in 11 games to remain 4½ games back of first-place Chicago in the AL Central.

"It's hard not to look at the standings, but you know what's going on," said Blake, whose two-run homer put Cleveland ahead 2-1. "We expect to win every game, but we can't afford to start looking at other teams."

Cleveland is a major-league best 31-11 since July 31, cutting a division deficit that was 15 games on Aug. 1. The Indians open a three-game series at Chicago on Monday and conclude the regular season with three games against the White Sox at Jacobs Field.

"Anything is doable," Blake said. "It's pretty amazing that the lead has diminished like that."

Scott Sauerbeck got the final out of the eighth inning, and Bob Wickman worked the ninth for his AL-leading 42nd save in 47 chances, completing a six-hitter.

Kansas City won two of three from Chicago before coming to Cleveland. The Royals lost their 97th game, seven shy of the team record set last season.

Elarton held the Royals hitless until Aaron Guiel singled to start the fourth. Guiel was quickly erased on a double play, one of four turned by the Indians.

"Go figure," Kansas City manager Buddy Bell said. "You hit into four double plays, that's not good."

Kansas City's only run was a two-out homer by Mark Teahen in the fifth -- the 29th long ball allowed by the right-hander this year.

"I have no idea why I was getting double plays," said Elarton, who was the beneficiary of three while he was on the mound. "Defense is a good feeling behind you."

Elarton became the fourth Cleveland starter with 10 or more wins, joining Cliff Lee (16-4), Jake Westbrook (15-14) and C.C. Sabathia (13-10).

"Reaching 10 is nice, but it is much more exciting to be in the race," said Elarton, who had not won more than four in a season at the major league level since going 17-7 for Houston in 2000.

Before the game, manager Eric Wedge said he would not skip Elarton or any other starter in order to get a certain matchup down the stretch as Cleveland seeks to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2001. Cleveland starters are 10-2 with a 1.83 ERA in the last 15 games.

"All five starters have been as consistent as you can be," Wedge said. "And that's the way we'll play it out."

After Teahen's fourth homer gave Kansas City a 1-0 lead, Aaron Boone drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fifth against Jimmy Gobble (1-1) and Blake snapped a personal 0-for-13 skid with his 21st homer for a 2-1 lead.

Sizemore then pulled a 2-0 pitch into the Royals bullpen for his 20th homer and his third straight hit off the left-hander.

"The more I play, the better I feel," said Sizemore, who has hit .325 (49-for-151) with eight homers and 28 RBI over his last 37 games. He joined Roberto Alomar (2001) as the only Indians with 20 homers, doubles and steals along with 10 triples in a season.

Cleveland loaded the bases later in the inning against reliever Kyle Snyder, who got out of the jam by getting Jose Hernandez to hit into a double play.

Gobble gave up three runs and five hits in four-plus innings, striking out six.

Notes

  • Hernandez was part of all four double plays as he replaced Ronnie Belliard at second base. Belliard sat out with an abdominal strain.
  • Sizemore was thrown out trying for his 21st stolen base in the seventh, but became the seventh Indians player with 20 steals and 20 homers in a season, joining Alomar, Matt Lawton, Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Bobby Bonds and Toby Harrah.
  • Kansas City lost 104 last season and 100 in 2002. The Royals also lost 97 in 2001, 1999 and 1970.
  • The Indians have homered in 13 of 14 games, hitting 26 over the fence in that span.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Grady Sizemore jogs the bases after his solo shot in the fifth. He finishes the game 3-for-3.  (AP)
Grady Sizemore jogs the bases after his solo shot in the fifth. He finishes the game 3-for-3. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

G. Sizemore
AB 3
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
Cleveland

C. Blake
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Kansas City Royals
Aaron Guiel, CF3010011 .292
   a- Chip Ambres, PH-CF1000001 .259
Terrence Long, LF3010101 .279
Mike Sweeney, DH4000013 .297
Matt Stairs, 1B4010001 .275
Emil Brown, RF2000101 .287
Mark Teahen, 3B3111001 .239
Angel Berroa, SS3000010 .268
John Buck, C3000010 .229
Andres Blanco, 2B3020000 .267
Totals29161249 
a-flied out for Guiel in the 8th
Batting
HR - Mark Teahen (4, Elarton)
RBI - Mark Teahen (46)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Teahen (24)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Teahen-Blanco-Stairs, Blanco-Berroa-Stairs
E - Angel Berroa (22, Missed catch)
Kansas City Royals
Jimmy Gobble (L,1-1) 4533362 5.91
Kyle Snyder 2.2100330 7.52
Jeremy Affeldt 1.1000010 6.53
Pitches-Strikes - Jimmy Gobble 86-51, Kyle Snyder 49-29, Jeremy Affeldt 14-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jimmy Gobble 3-2, Kyle Snyder 3-1, Jeremy Affeldt 3-0
Batters Faced - Jimmy Gobble 19, Kyle Snyder 11, Jeremy Affeldt 4
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF3131100 .292
Coco Crisp, LF3000112 .302
Jhonny Peralta, SS3010112 .286
Travis Hafner, DH2000211 .298
Victor Martinez, C4000023 .295
Jose Hernandez, 2B4010004 .235
Ben Broussard, 1B4000031 .251
Aaron Boone, 3B2100110 .236
Casey Blake, RF3112010 .245
Totals2836361013 
Batting
HR - Grady Sizemore (20, Gobble), Casey Blake (21, Gobble)
RBI - Grady Sizemore (77), Casey Blake 2 (51)
CS - Grady Sizemore (10, 2nd base by Snyder/Buck)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Hernandez-Peralta-Broussard, A. Boone-Hernandez-Broussard, Hernandez-Peralta-Broussard, Peralta-Hernandez-Broussard
Cleveland Indians
Scott Elarton (W,10-7) 7.2511241 4.57
Scott Sauerbeck (H,14) 0.1000000 3.34
Bob Wickman (S,42) 1100000 2.68
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Elarton 94-62, Scott Sauerbeck 6-4, Bob Wickman 8-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Elarton 5-11, Bob Wickman 1-1
Batters Faced - Scott Elarton 27, Scott Sauerbeck 1, Bob Wickman 3
Game Information
Attendance - 21975
Game Time - 2:35
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Derryl Cousins, First Base - Jeff Nelson, Second Base - Bill Miller, Third Base - Joe Brinkman