Royals 7, Indians 1

The SportsXchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- James Shields struck out a season-high 10 as the Kansas City Royals defeated the Cleveland Indians 7-1 Monday night to open a crucial six-game homestand.

The victory moved the Royals within 2 1/2 games of the slumping Texas Rangers, who have lost seven straight and 10 of 11, for the second American League wild-card playoff spot. The Indians remain a half-game behind Texas, which plays a weekend series at Kauffman Stadium.

Salvador Perez went 3-for-4, walked, scored two runs and drove in a run to lead the Royals' 14-hit attack.

Shields (12-9), who was the cornerstone of a seven-player blockbuster trade with the Tampa Bay Rays in December, lived up to his "Big Game James" tag. He allowed one run on six hits in six innings while logging his 20th double-figure-strikeout game. After beginning the season 2-6, Shields has won 10 of his past 13 decisions.

The Royals scored three runs in the sixth to take a 5-1 lead and chase Indians left-hander Scott Kazmir (8-9).

Perez and Lorenzo Cain started the inning with back-to-back triples to end Kazmir's evening. Pinch hitter David Lough greeted Matt Albers with a run-producing single.

Lough scored an unearned run after errors by Asdrubal Cabrera and Lonnie Chisenhall.

Kazmir, who is 1-5 in seven starts since Aug. 9, was charged with four runs on seven hits and a walk in five-plus innings.

The Royals padded their advantage with two runs in the seventh, with Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar delivering RBI singles.

Shields and relievers Wade Davis, Luke Hochevar and Tim Collins combined to strikeout 17, a season high for Royals pitchers and a season high for Indians hitters.

The Royals scored in the first when Billy Butler's two-out single brought home Emilio Bonifacio, who had an infield single and stole second. It was Bonifacio's 14th stolen base in 16 attempts since he was acquired in an Aug. 14 trade with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Kansas City added another run in the third. Alex Gordon led off by striking out but reached first on a Kazmir wild pitch. Hosmer blooped a single to right, advancing Gordon to third. Perez's two-out single to right scored Gordon.

Chisenhall opened the fifth inning with his 11th home run to put the Indians on the scoreboard.

NOTES: Royals LHP Danny Duffy was scratched from his Tuesday start with left flexor tendon inflammation. "We're going to use the upmost caution with him right now, coming off Tommy John surgery," manager Ned Yost said. Duffy had reconstructive elbow surgery on June 13, 2012. ... RHP Yordano "Ace" Ventura, who is the Royals' top pitching prospect, will make his major league debut as Duffy's replacement. Ventura, 22, went 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA and struck out 155 in 134 2/3 innings in the minors this season. ... Indians manager Terry Francona said RHP Justin Masterson, a 14-game winner who is out with a strained oblique, could throw off the mound Friday. It remains iffy that Masterson would be able to make a start before the season ends.
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