Royals 7, Indians 1
CLEVELAND (AP)—The Cleveland Indians were eliminated from the AL Central race, and Eric Wedge didn’t take it very well.
The Indians manager said his players are “playing like they have run out of gas” after the Kansas City Royals won 7-1 on Saturday night. The loss was the Indians’ 11th in 15 games.
“I believe in each and every guy on this team, but somebody has to step up,” Wedge said. “They have to have some pride in what … they are doing.”
John Buck hit a two-run homer and Jimmy Gobble allowed two hits over seven innings against Cleveland, which fell to 8-22 since getting within a game of first-place Minnesota on Aug. 14. The Indians are 15 games back after Saturday’s games.
Angel Berroa had three hits and an RBI for the Royals, who are 8-8 in September and earned consecutive road victories for the first time since June 16-17. The Royals can get their second series sweep of the season with a win Sunday. They took three straight from Cleveland in Kansas City from April 9-11.
“That’s good,” Royals manager Tony Pena said. “We’ve started to play a little better and we’ll need to keep scoring runs.”
Gobble (8-8) gave up one run, struck out five and walked five to improve to 2-0 in four starts since being recalled from the minors Aug. 29. He used an assortment of breaking balls to retire 18 of 20 batters after Cleveland scored in the second inning.
“He made some adjustments and pitched very well,” Pena said. “He was stronger at the end than at the start.”
Cliff Lee (11-8) retired the first nine, but gave up four runs in the fourth inning en route to his seventh loss in eight decisions since July 16. It was also Cleveland’s 11th loss in 15 games overall.
Before the game, the Indians announced that outfielder Jody Gerut will be sidelined six to nine months with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He was hurt when he fell on the right-field warning track during the Indians’ 6-4 loss Friday night.
Casey Blake and Travis Hafner walked to open the second and Josh Phelps followed with a single to left. Blake was prepared to stop at third, but scored when left fielder Desi Relaford misplayed the ball for an error—giving Cleveland a 1-0 lead.
“I couldn’t command my fastball early,” Gobble said. “I mixed in some off-speed pitches just to get some strikes. Then I started throwing a good fastball down and away.”
The Royals took the lead in the fourth. Berroa and Abraham Nunez hit consecutive doubles to tie it. Ken Harvey followed with a run-scoring single. One out later, Buck homered on a 1-1 pitch to make it 4-1.
Harvey left with a strained right knee in the eighth on a bizarre play.
Leading off second after hitting a double, Harvey had to leap over a line shot hit by Joe Randa which sailed between his legs. Shortstop John McDonald knocked the ball down and had Harvey caught between second and third.
“I tried to jump-stop in the rundown because I knew I was out anyway,” Harvey said. “My leg just gave out. It didn’t hurt at first, but it does now. Strange things always happen to me.
“Hopefully, I’ll feel better tomorrow, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Lee gave up four runs and four hits in four innings, striking out six and walking two. He’s 1-7 with a 9.82 ERA in his last 11 starts.
Gobble walked four in the first two innings, but gave up only one run. Matt Lawton was thrown out at third on a double-steal attempt to help the lefty get out of the first inning.
The Indians are 0-5 in weekend home games after starting 25-6 in such contests. … Murphy made his big league debut two days after the Royals purchased his contract from Class A Wilmington. He struck out twice before lining a hard shot off third baseman Blake’s glove for his first hit. … Gobble is 1-1 with a 0.95 ERA in three career starts against Cleveland.