Cleveland at Kansas City

Scoreboard
Cleveland (95-66)0020000103110
Kansas City (69-92) «30000001x4101

Royals end Indians' hope for home-field advantage through AL playoffs

CBSSports.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- On the next-to-last day of the regular season, the Cleveland Indians absorbed a postseason setback.

Joey Gathright's RBI single in the eighth inning lifted Kansas City past Cleveland 4-3 Saturday night and ended the Indians' chance to get home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.

Cleveland's loss gave AL East champion Boston the home field and the right to choose when to start its series against the Los Angeles Angels. Minutes after last-place Kansas City beat AL Central champion Cleveland, the Red Sox elected to open on Wednesday.

If the Indians had begun on Wednesday, the extra day off would've enabled 19-game winners C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona to get two starts each in the five-game series against the Yankees.

"We'll play Thursday and we're going to need four (starters)," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge.

Sabathia, Carmona, Jake Westbrook and Paul Byrd will be those four starters.

Cleveland and Boston went into the final two games tied with 95-65 records. But the Red Sox, who own the tiebreaker over the Indians, beat Minnesota 6-4 earlier Saturday for their 96th win.

"You know -- we were shooting to try to have the best record so we could have our choice," Wedge said.

"It didn't work out. But our guys went after it. They played the way they always do. They get out there, they grind it out. They play the game with everything they've got. But tonight it just wasn't meant to be."

After Mike Sweeney led off the eighth with a single against Rafael Perez (1-2), pinch-hitter Esteban German laid down a bunt and appeared to be safe when the throw from catcher Victor Martinez hit the runner.

German was called out for running inside the base line and manager Buddy Bell was ejected for arguing. After Alex Gordon singled, Jensen Lewis relieved.

Shane Costa struck out before Gathright, whose trouble with the lights cost the Royals two early runs, singled home the tiebreaking run.

"All the wins for us are important," said Bell, who has already announced he will resign after the season ends on Sunday with the Royals in last place for the fourth year in a row.

Joakim Soria (2-3) pitched the final two innings for the Royals.

The Indians tied it 3-all in the eighth on Martinez's run-scoring single, his third RBI of the game.

The Royals scored three times in the first inning after David DeJesus led off by getting hit by a pitch for the 23rd time, extending his own team record. Mark Grudzielanek singled, Mark Teahen doubled in a run, another scored on Westbrook's wild pitch and Gordon made it 3-0 with a sacrifice fly.

The Royals had four different pitchers face five batters from the final out of the sixth inning to the final out of the seventh, and the strategy worked. Jimmy Gobble struck out Grady Sizemore to end the seventh with a run on first.

"Our bullpen again saved the day," Bell said.

In the Cleveland third, Martinez lifted a shallow fly ball to left-center. Gathright, the left fielder, lost it in the lights and the ball dropped for a two-run single.

Westbrook, who turned 30 on Saturday, said he expected nothing less from the Royals.

"This is the big leagues, No matter whether a team's got 90 wins or 90 losses, they're still big league baseball players," he said. "They're not going to back down because we're in first place and they're in last place. They're a good baseball team. You can't think that you've got the upper hand. You feel confident in your abilities but you still have to give them a lot of credit."

Royals starter Gil Meche went six innings. He tied his season high with seven strikeouts and ended his first season in Kansas City with a respectable 3.67 ERA.

Meche labored through the first three innings, throwing 71 pitches. but he got through the fourth and fifth innings with only 19 pitches.

Ryan Garko tried to score from second with what would have been the tying run on Jhonny Peralta's single with two out in the sixth. But he was easily thrown out by Gathright, who's never been known for a strong arm.

Notes

  • It was Bell's fifth ejection this year.
  • RHP Luke Hochevar, the overall No. 1 draft choice in 2006, will make his first major league start on Sunday for KC.
  • The longest hitting streak in the AL this season will belong to Casey Blake. The Indians' third baseman hit in 26 straight from May 20 through June 17.
  • The Indians had five hitters in their starting lineup with at least 21 home runs. The Royals had none.
 
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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Mark Teahen helps get the Royals on the board early as he beats this tag by Victor Martinez in the first.  (AP)
Mark Teahen helps get the Royals on the board early as he beats this tag by Victor Martinez in the first. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

V. Martinez
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 3
Kansas City

J. Gathright
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF5000023 .278
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B4220110 .285
Travis Hafner, DH4020023 .265
    Josh Barfield, PR-DH0000000 .242
Victor Martinez, C4033001 .301
Ryan Garko, 1B4010025 .290
Jhonny Peralta, SS4010011 .270
Kenny Lofton, LF2000010 .296
   a- Jason Michaels, PH-LF2000013 .269
Trot Nixon, RF2000010 .251
   b- Franklin Gutierrez, PH-RF2010003 .266
Casey Blake, 3B3110111 .269
Totals363113212  
a-struck out for Lofton in the 7th
b-singled for Nixon in the 7th
Batting
2B - Ryan Garko (29, Meche)
RBI - Victor Martinez 3 (114)
2-OUT RBI - Victor Martinez 2 (43)
CS - Casey Blake (5, 2nd base by Meche/Buck)
Team LOB - 8
Cleveland Indians
Jake Westbrook 6.1733150 4.32
Rafael Perez (L,1-2) 1211110 1.78
Jensen Lewis 0.2100010 2.15
IBB - Gload by Jake Westbrook, Grudzielanek by Rafael Perez
HBP - DeJesus (by Jake Westbrook)
WP - Jake Westbrook (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 100-63, Rafael Perez 17-10, Jensen Lewis 6-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 11-2, Rafael Perez 2-0
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 27, Rafael Perez 6, Jensen Lewis 3
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, CF3100001 .260
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B3120101 .302
Mark Teahen, RF4111023 .285
Mike Sweeney, DH4020013 .263
    Justin Huber, PR-DH0100000 .000
Ross Gload, 1B2000100 .283
   a- Esteban German, PH-3B1000001 .267
Alex Gordon, 3B-1B3011021 .248
John Buck, C3000011 .222
   b- Shane Costa, PH1000012 .223
    Paul Phillips, C0000000 .182
Joey Gathright, LF4021000 .308
Tony Pena, SS4020002 .267
Totals32410327  
a-grounded out-bunting for Gload in the 8th
b-struck out for Buck in the 8th
Batting
2B - Mark Teahen (31, Westbrook)
3B - Tony Pena (7, Westbrook)
SF - Alex Gordon (2)
RBI - Mark Teahen (60), Alex Gordon (60), Joey Gathright (18)
2-OUT RBI - Joey Gathright (7)
SB - David DeJesus (10, 2nd base off Westbrook/Martinez)
CS - Tony Pena (6, 2nd base by Westbrook/Martinez)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Joey Gathright 1
DP - Pena-Gload
E - Tony Pena (23, Missed catch of throw)
Kansas City Royals
Gil Meche 6722270 3.67
John Bale (H,5) 0.1100010 4.05
David Riske (H,16) 0.1000000 2.45
Jimmy Gobble (BS,2) 0.1311010 3.02
Joakim Soria (W,2-3) 2000030 2.48
Pitches-Strikes - Gil Meche 103-66, John Bale 10-7, David Riske 1-1, Jimmy Gobble 14-9, Joakim Soria 34-23
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gil Meche 3-5, David Riske 1-0, Joakim Soria 2-2
Batters Faced - Gil Meche 24, John Bale 2, David Riske 1, Jimmy Gobble 4, Joakim Soria 7
Game Information
Attendance - 24274
Game Time - 3:08
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Bill Welke, First Base - Mike Estabrook, Second Base - Laz Diaz, Third Base - Wally Bell