KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Bruce Chen worked five innings and Salvador Perez doubled home two runs and the Kansas City Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 7-2 on Wednesday night.
The Indians are a half-game behind in the AL wild-card race while the Royals are 2½ games back.
Chen was pulled in the sixth after giving up a single to Michael Bourn and walking Nick Swisher to lead off the inning.
Francisley Bueno replaced Chen and recorded two outs with three pitches.
After Jeff Kipnis advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt, Bueno kept the runners put when Carlos Santana grounded out to third baseman Mike Moustakas. Louis Coleman came in and retired Ryan Raburn on a fly to right to strand the runners.
Royals relievers Tim Collins, Will Smith and Greg Holland preserved the lead, allowing just one hit, to keep the team’s playoff chances alive.
The Royals broke the game open with three runs off four Indians pitchers in the eighth. Alcides Escobar had a two-run single, while Jarrod Dyson walked with the bases loaded.
Rookie Danny Salazar (1-3), who had allowed just one run in 13 2-3 innings in his first three September starts, took the loss, giving up four runs and six hits in six innings.
The Royals jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first with Perez’s two-out double, scoring Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler. Perez went to third on the throw home and scored on a Salazar wild pitch.
The Indians scored a pair of runs in the third. Yan Gomes came home after center fielder Dyson had trouble picking up Michael Brantley’s double. Brantley wound up scoring on Bourn’s sacrifice fly.
The Royals used a double steal in the fifth for their fourth run. Escobar avoided the tag of catcher Gomes to steal home, while Alex Gordon, who was initially caught in a rundown, stole second. Escobar became the first Royal to steal home since Jeff Francoeur on Aug. 11, 2012, at Baltimore.
Notes: The Royals recalled LHP Chris Dwyer, who allowed one single and struck out eight in seven scoreless innings for Omaha in the Triple-A 2-1 championship victory over Durham on Tuesday, and IF Irving Falu, who hit .256 in 135 games with the Storm Chasers. Falu was with Kansas City for one day, Aug. 11, but was optioned back to Omaha the next day without playing. … Indians RHP Justin Masterson, a 14-game winner who is out with an oblique strain, threw 120 feet in long toss and made 20 to 25 pitches off flat ground. … The Indians won the season series from the Royals for the ninth time in 10 years.