KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- That could have been the loss that had you doubting the Indians.
Instead, it was the win that had you believing they're going to do this.
One game shouldn't change your opinion of a team, but the Indians' 5-3 comeback Tuesday night win over the Royals both confirmed the reasons to like this team and helped shoot down some of the reasons not to.
"Tonight was one of the more gratifying wins I've been a part of," manager Terry Francona said.
And you could understand why.
The Indians lost to the Royals Monday, and some people watching thought they looked tight. Then they were down 3-0 after five innings Tuesday, and were being shut down by Yordano Ventura, the Royals' impressive rookie. But they rallied against the Royals bullpen, statistically the best in the league.
"Every last one of their dudes throws hard," said Indians center fielder Michael Bourn, who had a key triple off Kelvin Herrera in the seventh and then homered off Luke Hochevar in the ninth. "We just kept fighting."
A loss Tuesday would have left the Indians 1 1/2 games behind the Rays and Rangers, the co-leaders in this crazy wild-card chase. Worse, it would have left the Royals just a game behind the Indians, with a chance to catch them in the final game of this series Wednesday.
Instead, the Indians are back to being half a game behind both the Rays and Rangers, knowing that a win Wednesday would leave them holding the second wild-card spot. And knowing that after Wednesday, their remaining schedule is all against the Astros, White Sox and Twins.
And the Royals are back to needing a wild-card miracle to make the playoffs.
The Royals have big hope for the future, and Ventura's fine debut did nothing to change that. But the Indians have by far the better chance in this race, and Tuesday's comeback only confirmed that.
Now it's easy to believe that they're going to do it.