Indians 11, Royals 4
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—With another big night at the plate, the Cleveland Indians boosted their AL wild-card lead to 1 1/2 games.
With the Yankees’ 7-4 loss to Toronto, Cleveland is 1 1/2 games ahead New York and Boston, which are tied for the AL East lead at 90-64. The Indians (92-63) remained 1 1/2 games behind the Chicago White Sox (93-61) in the AL Central.
“We’re right where we need to be,” Kevin Millwood said. “We can get in one way or the other.”
Ben Broussard had a career-high three doubles and four RBIs on his 29th birthday. Cleveland had 16 hits, including seven doubles and four homers.
The Indians, who have won four straight and 10 of 11, set their season high for extra-base hits and have 62 homers in their past 31 games.
“We’ve kind of put in a lot of time in the last couple of years getting beat and now it time for us to go out and play well, and we’ve been doing it for a while,” Broussard said. “It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve just got to stay focused and finish strong. We control our own destiny. We’re not going to have to depend on other people right now. We just have to play good baseball a little more than a week and see where we’re at.”
Millwood (9-11) allowed one run—a leadoff home run to Aaron Guiel—and seven hits in six innings, lowering his league-leading ERA to 2.92.
“Kevin threw the ball very well,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “He wasn’t feeling particularly well today. He battled through it, nothing physically, just under the weather. I think he had flu-like symptoms. It showed what type of competitor he is. This guy has been nothing short of outstanding for us. He’s been our most consistent starter if you go outing to outing.”
Millwood is attempting to become the first Indian to led the league in ERA since Rick Sutcliffe (2.96) in 1982. With only one scheduled start left, Millwood could become the first pitcher to win the AL ERA title with a losing record since Mel Harder, who was 15-17 with a 2.95 ERA for the 1933 Indians.
“It’s not much I can do about my record,” Millwood said. “It would still be exciting to lead the league in ERA.”
Kansas City went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position off Millwood, who leads the AL by holding hitters to a .191 average with runners in scoring position. Millwood got double-play grounders to end the fifth and sixth innings.
“I wouldn’t say I was sick,” Millwood said. “I didn’t feel quite right. After getting through six innings, I didn’t have a whole lot left.”
Peralta’s two-run homer in the first put the Indians ahead and tied the Indians record for home runs by a shortstop, set by Woody Held with 23 in 1961.
Guiel’s home run was the first off Millwood in six starts. It was the second straight game the Royals opened the game with a home run—Chip Ambres did it Friday.
Belliard homered in the fourth to make it 3-1, and Cleveland increased the lead to 5-1 in the sixth on Sizemore’s 22nd homer and Casey Blake’s sacrifice fly.
Royals starter Mike Wood (5-8) gave up five runs, nine hits and five walks in six innings.
“They’re swinging the bats pretty well right now,” Royals catcher John Buck said. “When we’re putting them in hitter’s counts all the time, that’s a good indicator why they’re hitting home runs instead of just getting base hits. They’re getting comfortable and putting little more aggressive swings on it.
Kansas City dropped to 52-102, two shy of the franchise record for losses set last year.
Kansas City DH Mike Sweeney was able to take batting practice, but was out of the Royals lineup for the third consecutive game with tightness in his lower back. … Travis Hafner’s streak of homering in six straight games ended. He singled in the fifth, stopping his streak of his 10 consecutive extra-base hits. … Guiel’s leadoff home run was the third of his career. … The Indians improved to 50-30 on the road. … The Royals have lost a team-record 10 consecutive games to the Indians.