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Kansas City at Cleveland

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Kansas City (63-83)000040000491
Cleveland (86-61) «100000211560

Indians beat Royals on Blake's walk-off shot in ninth

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Casey Blake didn't mind the pummeling or the pie.

Blake homered on David Riske's first pitch in the ninth inning Friday night as the Cleveland Indians rallied for a 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals and moved closer to clinching the AL Central.

Blake hadn't homered in 36 games -- a span of 144 at-bats since Aug. 1 -- when he stepped to the plate against Riske, one of his former Indians teammates. Blake wasted no time, pulling a ball over the wall in left field to help Cleveland lower its magic number to 10.

After rounding the bases, Blake was greeted at home plate by his teammates, who first pounded him on the head and then plastered him with a whipped-cream pie -- an early season fad that is quickly becoming a Cleveland tradition.

"It's cool. I just hope nobody hurt their fists punching me," Blake joked. "You know, when you hit steel like that. It's a good feeling. It's been a long time since that has happened to me."

Franklin Gutierrez hit a two-run homer in the seventh as the Indians, who haven't been to the playoffs in six years, improved to 16-4 since Aug. 25. Cleveland also won for the 12th time this season in its final at-bat at home.

"I kind of felt it in the dugout. I knew we were going to win this game," said Indians starter C.C. Sabathia, who struck out a career-high 13 in seven innings and got a no-decision. "I just had a feeling someone was going to get a big hit."

Blake seemed to be an unlikely candidate with just one homer since the All-Star break.

"I've been working on some things," he deadpanned. "It seems like they (homers) come in spurts and hopefully this starts another one."

Riske (1-4) also gave up Victor Martinez's leadoff homer in the eighth that tied it 4-4, a shot that also came on the right-hander's first pitch.

"It was two pitches," Riske said. "One (Martinez's) wasn't hit very good. The other one was hit really good."

Riske didn't want Blake to be able to extend his arms, but missed his intended target.

"I was trying to throw a fastball low and away and missed completely," he said. "He made me pay."

Joe Borowski (4-5) pitched a scoreless ninth for Cleveland, which maintained its 5½-game lead over second-place Detroit. The Tigers, who beat Minnesota 4-2, will visit Jacobs Field for three games starting Monday.

Royals rookie Brian Bannister held the Indians to a pair of first-inning singles in six innings and outperformed Sabathia, who padded his Cy Young resume with another solid performance.

The Indians have had just one Cy Young winner, Gaylord Perry in 1972.

"I could care less about any individual honors," Sabathia said. "I just want to win the division and pitch in the playoffs again. That's it. That's all I want."

Bannister was in line for his fifth win in six starts before Kansas City's bullpen let the Indians back in it. The Royals have lost eight of nine.

"It seems like every game we play here is like this," manager Buddy Bell said. "We're a pitch away or a hit away from a win. This is a tough loss."

Trailing 4-1 after doing next to nothing against Bannister, the Indians closed within a run in the seventh on Gutierrez's homer off reliever Joel Peralta.

Kenny Lofton singled with one out and Gutierrez drove a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left for his 12th homer. Bell brought in left-hander John Bale, who walked two before striking out Travis Hafner to preserve Kansas City's lead.

But the Royals' advantage vanished quickly in the eighth on Martinez's 22nd homer. Like Blake, he connected on Riske's first pitch, sending a towering shot toward right that barely cleared outfielder Mark Teahen's glove and the wall.

Martinez's seemed to carry in the wind.

"I love him to death," Riske said of his former batterymate. "But I think he got some help."

Sabathia had gone 10 consecutive starts without allowing more than two earned runs, the longest such stretch for an Indians pitcher since Perry in 1974.

Aside from two walks, Sabathia overpowered the Royals the first time through their lineup. He didn't allow a hit until the fourth, when Billy Butler dropped a soft, two-out single into left-center.

But the Royals hit Sabathia hard in the fifth, scoring four runs - all with two outs - to open a 4-1 lead.

Notes

  • Royals DH Mike Sweeney strained his groin on a fifth-inning double and was replaced in the seventh.
  • Sabathia has 198 strikeouts, the most by an Indians left-hander since Sam McDowell's 304 in 1970.
  • Indians GM Mark Shapiro had nothing but praise for Twins GM Terry Ryan, who announced his resignation after 13 seasons with Minnesota. "My respect for him may be greater than for any other exec in the game," Shapiro said. "Character, integrity, work ethic, sincerity, the things that matter to me, he personifies a lot of those things. And he succeeded without compromising any of those standards or values."
 
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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Casey Blake had not homered in his last 144 at-bats before his dramatic shot on Friday night.  (AP)
Casey Blake had not homered in his last 144 at-bats before his dramatic shot on Friday night. (AP)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

M. Grudzielanek
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
Cleveland

C. Blake
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Kansas City Royals
Esteban German, 3B4010023 .266
    Alex Gordon, 3B1000002 .258
David DeJesus, CF4111032 .268
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B3112100 .300
Mike Sweeney, DH3011011 .264
   a- Shane Costa, PH-DH1010000 .232
Billy Butler, 1B3010001 .295
    Ross Gload, 1B1000000 .296
Mark Teahen, RF3000131 .287
Emil Brown, LF3110020 .251
   b- Joey Gathright, PH-LF1000001 .318
John Buck, C2000121 .232
   c- Jason Smith, PH1000001 .197
    Jason LaRue, C0000000 .146
Tony Pena, SS3120000 .259
Totals33494313  
a-singled for Sweeney in the 8th
b-popped out-bunting for E. Brown in the 9th
c-flied out for Buck in the 9th
Batting
2B - Mike Sweeney (15, Sabathia)
SH - Tony Pena (7)
RBI - David DeJesus (58), Mark Grudzielanek 2 (48), Mike Sweeney (36)
2-OUT RBI - David DeJesus (26), Mark Grudzielanek 2 (19), Mike Sweeney (16)
CS - Esteban German (6, 2nd base by Sabathia/Martinez), Shane Costa (1, 2nd base by Betancourt/Martinez)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Alex Gordon (12, Misplayed grounder)
Kansas City Royals
Brian Bannister 6211320 3.39
Joel Peralta (H,4) 0.2222001 3.95
John Bale (H,1) 0.1000210 4.15
David Riske (BS,4; L,1-4) 1222012 2.42
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Bannister 107-67, Joel Peralta 19-12, John Bale 17-7, David Riske 15-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Bannister 8-8, David Riske 1-2
Batters Faced - Brian Bannister 23, Joel Peralta 4, John Bale 3, David Riske 6
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF1100300 .277
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B3000102 .300
Travis Hafner, DH4011022 .256
Victor Martinez, C3111101 .307
Ryan Garko, 1B4010001 .295
Jhonny Peralta, SS4000003 .266
Kenny Lofton, LF4110002 .297
Franklin Gutierrez, RF4112021 .273
Casey Blake, 3B4111000 .267
Totals3156554  
Batting
HR - Victor Martinez (22, Riske), Franklin Gutierrez (12, Peralta), Casey Blake (16, Riske)
RBI - Travis Hafner (91), Victor Martinez (103), Franklin Gutierrez 2 (31), Casey Blake (68)
SB - Grady Sizemore (33, 2nd base off Bannister/Buck)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Martinez-Peralta
Cleveland Indians
C.C. Sabathia 77442130 3.21
Rafael Betancourt 1100000 1.54
Joe Borowski (W,4-5) 1100100 5.31
Pitches-Strikes - C.C. Sabathia 116-71, Rafael Betancourt 11-6, Joe Borowski 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C.C. Sabathia 5-2, Rafael Betancourt 1-1
Batters Faced - C.C. Sabathia 29, Rafael Betancourt 3, Joe Borowski 5
Game Information
Attendance - 35230
Game Time - 3:03
Temperature - 65
Umpires - Home - Ed Rapuano, First Base - Ed Hickox, Second Base - C.B. Bucknor, Third Base - Joe West