KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Alcides Escobar stole home and stroked a two-run single and Bruce Chen rebounded from a mediocre start with a solid five-plus innings as the Kansas City Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 7-2 Wednesday.
The victory kept the Royals' lean playoffs alive. They are 3 1/2 games behind the second wild-card berth. The Indians remain a half-game back in the wild-card standings.
Chen (8-3), who gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings in losing his previous start at Detroit, picked up the victory, giving up two runs on four hits in five-plus innings. Chen owns a 7-3 career record against the Indians.
After Chen gave up a single and a walk to start the sixth, manager Ned Yost went to his bullpen. Relievers Francisley Bueno, Louis Coleman, Tim Collins, Will Smith and Greg Holland shut out the Indians the final four innings.
The Royals batted around in three-run eighth and were aided by a Ryan Raburn error. Nick Hagadone walked Jarrod Dyson with the bases loaded for the first run of the inning. Escobar singled to left, scoring Salvador Perez, who had reached on the error, and Lorenzo Cain.
Danny Salazar, the Indians' rookie right-hander, took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits in six innings.
The Royals got to Salazar for three runs with two outs in the first inning. Salvador Perez hit a double that scored Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler, giving him 26 RBIs since Aug. 23. Perez went to third on the throw home and scored on a Salazar wild pitch.
The Indians cut the lead to 3-2 in the third. Yan Gomes led off the inning with a single, moved to third on Michael Brantley's double and scored on an error on center fielder Jarrod Dyson, who booted Brantley's hit.
Cleveland manufactured its second run. Mike Aviles' sacrifice advanced Brantley to third, and Michael Bourn followed with a sacrifice fly to left.
The Royals stole a run -- literally -- in the fifth inning. With one out, Alcides Escobar singled and motored to third on Alex Gordon's ground-ball single to right. Then the Royals pulled a double steal that shouldn't have been. Gordon was caught in a rundown between first and second, when Escobar was sneaking down the line.
First baseman Nick Swisher threw the ball to third baseman Aviles, catching Escobar in a rundown. Escobar, however, somehow avoided the tag of catcher Yan Gomes to score, hiking the Royals' advantage to 4-2.
NOTES: The Royals recalled INF Irving Falu, who hit .341 in 24 games over three stints last season with Kansas City, and LHP Chris Dwyer from Omaha, which won the Triple-A championship Tuesday. Dwyer, a 2009 fourth-round pick out of Clemson, earned a 2-1 victory over International League champion Durham, allowing one hit in seven scoreless innings. He struck out eight and didn't walk a batter. ... Cleveland RHP Justin Masterson, who was 14-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 29 starts before being sidelined with an oblique strain, threw 120 feet before the game and made 20 to 25 pitches off flat ground. He is penciled in for a bullpen session Friday. ... Royals RHP Kelvin Herrera, who blew a save Tuesday, entered play Wednesday 0-1 with a 19.64 ERA in five relief appearances this season against the Indians.