Kansas City at Cleveland

Kansas City
W: U. Jimenez (11-9) L: E. Santana (8-9) S: C. Perez (23)
HR: KC - A. Gordon (18)   CLE - A. Cabrera (11),Y. Gomes (10),C. Santana (18)

Indians edge Royals, maintain pace in wild-card chase

CBSSports.com wire reports

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians were rewarded nicely for making it out of a harrowing ninth inning: They gained ground in the AL wild-card chase.

Chris Perez retired Alex Gordon on a fly ball with the bases loaded to end the game and preserve Cleveland's 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.

The Indians, who won despite having only five hits, moved a half-game closer to idle Tampa Bay, 1 games back for the second wild-card spot. The Royals dropped to four games behind the Rays.

Ubaldo Jimenez struck out 10 in seven innings and Asdrubal Cabrera, Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana each hit solo homers, as Cleveland built a 4-1 lead. It appeared as if the Indians were safe but Alex Gordon hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Cody Allen and Perez needed 27 pitches to get through the ninth.

Even Indians manager Terry Francona, who led Boston to two World Series titles, admitted he was on edge.

"I had a stomachache," he said. "That's about as nail baiting as you can get."

Jimenez (11-9) wasn't sure he wanted to watch.

"I was praying a little," he said.

Francona has stressed to his players to take their season one game at a time and not worry about the previous day or the following one. With 19 games remaining and the Indians in the middle of the chase for the postseason, they have obviously listened.

"You try to be one run better," he said. "Tonight, I feel like we were a tenth of a run better."

A crowd of only 9,794 attended the game, despite the matchup of two contenders. Several hundred dogs were also in attendance with a "Puppypalooza" promotion. The Indians were 14th in the league in attendance entering Monday, but Francona was diplomatic when asked about the small crowds.

"Everybody would love to play in front of a packed house, but my view of it is we have a responsibility to play as well as we can and hope that the people that come enjoy it and are proud of us," he said. "I think that's the best we can do. That's how I feel."

Salvador Perez led off the ninth with a single and Mike Moustakas walked on four pitches. Pinch-hitter David Lough's sacrifice moved the runners to second and third. Carlos Pena, another pinch hitter, struck out looking on a full-count pitch. George Kottaras, the third straight pinch hitter, battled back from an 0-2 count and walked to load the bases.

Gordon flied out to center fielder Michael Bourn and Chris Perez recorded his 23rd save.

"I liked the matchups with Pena, Kottaras and Alex [Gordon]," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We just couldn't get it done."

Royals starter Ervin Santana (8-9) made three mistakes, but they cost him the game. Cabrera homered in the second and Gomes hit his in the fifth. Santana led off the seventh with a line drive down the right field line that landed in the seats. First base umpire Dana DeMuth ruled the ball foul, bringing Francona out of the dugout.

The umpires huddled briefly and left the field to view a replay, which clearly showed the ball hit the foul pole. The umps returned to the field, DeMuth gave the home run signal and Santana rounded the bases.

The Indians also got a boost from rookie infielder Jose Ramirez, who got his first major league hit and used his speed to score a run in his first start since being called up from Double-A Akron on Sept. 1.

Francona said before the game he started Ramirez because he thought the rookie could do something to help the team score. Ramirez made his manager look good in the third when he started the inning with a single, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Hosmer's throwing error.

Ramirez's throwing error led to Kansas City's run in the sixth and he was picked off first in the eighth.

"He was all over the ballpark tonight," Francona said.


Gordon's home run was the 100th of his career. ... Indians RHP Justin Masterson (strained left oblique) is confident he'll return before the season ends. He has begun limited activities, such as stretching, and hopes to start playing catch this weekend. ... Yost plans on continuing to alternate OFs Dyson, Lorenzo Cain and Lough. Cain and Dyson were in the lineup for their series opener in Cleveland, along with Gordon in left. ... Jason Giambi, the Indians' 42-year-old DH, says he'd like to play next season and would consider returning to Cleveland. "I love it here," he said. "I like the direction we're going." Giambi joked about recording his 2,000th hit Sunday, saying, "It's a good accomplishment considering I can't run. It's more like 4,000." ... Royals RHP Jeremy Guthrie (13-10) faces Indians RHP Zach McAllister (7-8) in the second game of the three-game series Tuesday.

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Carlos Santana provides one of three home runs for the Indians, who win despite racking up just five hits. (USATSI)
Carlos Santana provides one of three home runs for the Indians, who win despite racking up just five hits. (USATSI)

Players of the Game

U. Jimenez
IP 7.0
H 7
ER 1
BB 0
K 10
Kansas City

A. Gordon
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

Kansas City Royals
Alex Gordon, LF5222003 .272
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B4000022 .239
Eric Hosmer, 1B4021010 .303
Billy Butler, DH4000022 .291
Salvador Perez, C4020010 .287
Mike Moustakas, 3B3000131 .230
Lorenzo Cain, RF3010011 .257
Jarrod Dyson, CF3020011 .269
   b-Carlos Pena, PH1000012 .207
Alcides Escobar, SS3110001 .233
a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Cain in the 9th
b-struck out for Dyson in the 9th
c-walked for Escobar in the 9th
2B - Jarrod Dyson (9, Jimenez), Alcides Escobar (18, Allen)
HR - Alex Gordon (18, Allen)
SH - David Lough (3)
RBI - Alex Gordon 2 (78), Eric Hosmer (74)
2-OUT RBI - Eric Hosmer (24)
SB - Alex Gordon (10, 2nd base off Jimenez/Gomes)
CS - Lorenzo Cain (6, 2nd base by Jimenez/Gomes), Jarrod Dyson (6, 2nd base by Jimenez/Gomes)
Team LOB - 7
E - Eric Hosmer (8, Throwing)
Kansas City Royals
Ervin Santana (L,8-9) 7443073 3.35
Wade Davis 1100010 5.50
Pitches-Strikes - Ervin Santana 97-67, Wade Davis 10-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ervin Santana 9-5, Wade Davis 1-0
Batters Faced - Ervin Santana 25, Wade Davis 3
Cleveland Indians
Michael Bourn, CF4000010 .258
Nick Swisher, 1B3000020 .240
Jason Kipnis, 2B3000010 .280
Carlos Santana, DH3111010 .262
Michael Brantley, LF3000000 .276
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS3111000 .234
Yan Gomes, C3111020 .303
Jose Ramirez, 3B3120000 .500
Drew Stubbs, RF3000010 .231
HR - Carlos Santana (18, Santana), Asdrubal Cabrera (11, Santana), Yan Gomes (10, Santana)
RBI - Carlos Santana (64), Asdrubal Cabrera (54), Yan Gomes (34)
2-OUT RBI - Asdrubal Cabrera (21)
PK - Jose Ramirez (1, Davis)
Team LOB - 0
E - Jose Ramirez (1, Throwing)
Cleveland Indians
Ubaldo Jimenez (W,11-9) 77100100 3.62
Cody Allen (H,9) 0.1222011 2.71
Marc Rzepczynski (H,2) 0.1000000 4.07
Joe Smith (H,22) 0.1000000 2.38
Chris Perez (S,23) 1100210 3.62
Pitches-Strikes - Ubaldo Jimenez 99-64, Cody Allen 14-8, Marc Rzepczynski 7-4, Joe Smith 2-1, Chris Perez 27-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ubaldo Jimenez 7-2, Marc Rzepczynski 1-0, Joe Smith 1-0, Chris Perez 1-1
Batters Faced - Ubaldo Jimenez 26, Cody Allen 3, Marc Rzepczynski 1, Joe Smith 1, Chris Perez 6
Game Information
Attendance - 9794
Game Time - 2:39
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Doug Eddings, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Mike Estabrook, Third Base - Paul Nauert