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Cleveland at Kansas City

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Cleveland (96-66) «002100001491
Kansas City (69-93)000010100281

Indians top Royals; Hafner reaches 100 RBI for fourth season in row

CBSSports.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Travis Hafner is going to the playoffs for the first time, and he tuned up for the postseason with another big day at the plate.

Hafner drove in two runs to reach 100 RBI for the fourth consecutive season and the Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 4-2 on Sunday in the final game of the regular season.

The Indians, who won the AL Central, will start C.C. Sabathia in Game 1 of their division series against the New York Yankees on Thursday. The Yankees, who were 6-0 against the Indians this year, will counter with Chien-Ming Wang.

"Obviously, they've got a lot of playoff experience, more than we've seen," Hafner said. "But it's a five-game series and we feel good about our team. We've played pretty well the last month. It's as good as we've played this year. We're excited, we're ready to go."

Hafner, who hit only .228 in May and .218 in June, batted .373 in his last 17 games with three home runs and 13 RBI.

"He's been hitting the baseball, impacting the baseball the way you expect Travis Hafner to do," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "And it couldn't happen at a better time for us."

Play was halted for more than 10 minutes in the top of the ninth when a sharply hit grounder bounced up and struck Kansas City third baseman Alex Gordon in the face. Gordon's nose started bleeding but he was able to walk off the field under his own power holding a towel to his face.

Buddy Bell, who managed his last game for the Royals, said Gordon was taken to a hospital.

"There's a good chance of his nose being broken," Bell said. "It's probably not the first time that's happened on a groundball."

Bell, who had a cancerous growth removed from his throat last fall, announced in August that he would step down to spend more time with his family. He finished with a 174-262 record for the Royals.

One of only three major league managers with an overall record that's 200 games below .500, Bell has said he might like to manage again.

"Today was a bad day for me in terms of missing things more than I thought I would," he said.

It also may have been the last game for Kansas City's Mike Sweeney, the veteran designated hitter and first baseman whose contract has expired.

The Royals ended the season on a down note, going 9-19 in September and finishing last in the AL Central for the fourth straight year. But at 69-93, they did avoid 100 losses for the first time since 2003.

Aaron Laffey (4-2), who is not included in the Indians' four-man playoff rotation, went five innings to get the victory, giving up four hits and one run.

Joe Borowski, who pitched the ninth for his AL-leading 45th save in 53 chances, said he isn't worried about the Indians' winless record against New York.

"It's the playoffs now," he said. "You can throw all that stuff out. We just want to go in and win three straight. It doesn't matter what we've done. It doesn't matter what they've done."

Hafner put Cleveland in front 2-0 with a two-run double in the third off Luke Hochevar (0-1), the top overall pick in the 2006 draft who was making his first major league start. The Indians took a 3-0 lead in the fourth on Chris Gomez's run-scoring groundout.

Hochevar, who had three relief appearances this month, gave up two runs and three hits in three innings.

Joey Gathright and Tony Pena Jr. each drove in a run for Kansas City.

Notes

  • Bell was introduced to the small crowd in a pregame ceremony and embraced general manager Dayton Moore. All the players came out for a group picture.
  • Sweeney took out a full-page ad in The Kansas City Star thanking the Royals and the fans for their support throughout his career.
  • Cleveland's starting staff leads the majors in innings pitched with 1,021 1/3.
  • The Indians will take Monday off, then work out on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Bell's overall managerial record, with three years in Detroit, three in Colorado and three in Kansas City, is 519-724 for a winning percentage of .418.
 
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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Cleveland's Travis Hafner is batting .373 in his last 17 games with three HRs and 13 RBI.  (AP)
Cleveland's Travis Hafner is batting .373 in his last 17 games with three HRs and 13 RBI. (AP)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

B. Butler
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
Cleveland

T. Hafner
AB 2
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
 
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF1000101 .277
    Ben Francisco, RF3011000 .274
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS1000101 .283
    Luis Rivas, PR-SS3100004 .273
Travis Hafner, DH2012001 .266
   a- David Dellucci, PH-DH2000020 .230
Ryan Garko, 1B2000011 .289
    Josh Barfield, 2B2010000 .243
Franklin Gutierrez, RF-CF4110011 .266
Casey Blake, 3B1010000 .270
    Andy Marte, 3B3010011 .193
Chris Gomez, 2B-1B4001001 .297
Jason Michaels, LF3110100 .270
Kelly Shoppach, C3120010 .261
Totals3449436  
a-struck out for Hafner in the 5th
Batting
2B - Ben Francisco (5, Peralta), Travis Hafner (25, Hochevar), Josh Barfield (19, Nunez), Andy Marte (4, Duckworth)
SH - Kelly Shoppach (3)
RBI - Ben Francisco (12), Travis Hafner 2 (100), Chris Gomez (21)
2-OUT RBI - Ben Francisco (3), Travis Hafner 2 (32)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Barfield-Gomez
E - Luis Rivas (1, Misplayed grounder)
Cleveland Indians
Aaron Laffey (W,4-2) 5411020 4.56
Thomas Mastny (H,7) 1.2211000 4.68
Aaron Fultz (H,11) 1.1100010 2.92
Joe Borowski (S,45) 1100010 5.07
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Laffey 58-38, Thomas Mastny 12-9, Aaron Fultz 17-12, Joe Borowski 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Laffey 9-5, Thomas Mastny 3-2, Aaron Fultz 2-0
Batters Faced - Aaron Laffey 20, Thomas Mastny 7, Aaron Fultz 4, Joe Borowski 4
Kansas City Royals
Joey Gathright, CF4011021 .307
Esteban German, 2B4000003 .264
Billy Butler, DH4030000 .292
    Shane Costa, PR-DH0000000 .223
Mike Sweeney, 1B3000002 .260
    Jason Smith, 1B-3B1000001 .199
Emil Brown, RF-LF4000011 .257
Alex Gordon, 3B3000011 .247
    Mark Teahen, RF1000000 .285
Justin Huber, LF2110000 .100
   a- Ross Gload, PH-LF^1B2120000 .288
Paul Phillips, C3000002 .143
   b- Craig Brazell, PH1000001 .250
Tony Pena, SS3011000 .267
Totals3528204  
a-doubled for Huber in the 7th
b-lined out for Phillips in the 9th
Batting
2B - Billy Butler 2 (23, Laffey, Mastny), Ross Gload 2 (22, Mastny, Borowski)
RBI - Joey Gathright (19), Tony Pena (47)
2-OUT RBI - Joey Gathright (8)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - German-Gordon-Sweeney
E - Alex Gordon (15, Misplayed grounder)
Kansas City Royals
Luke Hochevar (L,0-1) 3322210 2.13
Brandon Duckworth 1311100 4.63
Leo Nunez 4100050 3.92
Joel Peralta 1211000 3.80
WP - Joel Peralta (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Luke Hochevar 51-28, Brandon Duckworth 32-15, Leo Nunez 48-35, Joel Peralta 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luke Hochevar 5-2, Brandon Duckworth 3-0, Leo Nunez 2-5, Joel Peralta 1-2
Batters Faced - Luke Hochevar 13, Brandon Duckworth 7, Leo Nunez 13, Joel Peralta 5
Game Information
Attendance - 19104
Game Time - 2:36
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Mike Estabrook, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - Wally Bell, Third Base - Bill Welke