Cleveland The Kansas City Royals believe they are in the American League playoff chase to stay. They might start convincing others, too.
The Royals gained ground in the wild card race on Wednesday with a 6-2 win over the Cleveland Indians. Kansas City took two of three in the series between clubs that are in contention for the second wild card spot in the AL.
The Royals, who entered Wednesday trailing Tampa Bay by three games, moved a game closer to the Indians. With Tampa Bay’s loss to Boston, the Royals moved within two games of the second AL wild-cart spot.
“To come in here and win a series against a tough Cleveland team was huge for us,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Especially considering where we are at this point of the season. Losses hurt now. You’ve got to try to really keep them at a minimum if you can.”
Alex Gordon homered on the game’s first pitch, and James Shields dominated after a shaky first inning for the Royals, who have won 13 of 18.
“These guys have developed a lot of experience this year,” Shields said. “We’ve gone through so many ups and downs this year that we’ve been through every situation you can think of almost. These guys know what it takes. They know how to win.”
The Royals had a home run, a triple and a single within the game’s first seven pitches to take a 2-0 lead. Kansas City added another run in the first inning.
Shields (11-9) gave up two runs, two hits, and hit a batter in the bottom half before he took control.
Michael Brantley had a two-run single in the first, but Shields didn’t allow another hit until Jason Kipnis’ leadoff single in the ninth. He retired 16 of 17 going into the ninth, but was removed after allowing singles to Kipnis and Carlos Santana.