Indians head home after 7-2 loss to Royals

The Cleveland Indians missed an opportunity to gain ground in

the playoff race.

Bruce Chen worked five innings and Salvador Perez doubled home

two runs and the Kansas City Royals beat the Indians 7-2 on

Wednesday night.

The Indians open a six-game homestand Thursday with the first

four games against the Houston Astros, who have already lost 100

games.

Then they close the season with two home games against the

Chicago White Sox and four at Minnesota. They trail Texas by a

half-game for the second wild-card spot.

”It’s not great, but they’re a good team,” first baseman Nick

Swisher said after losing two of three at Kauffman Stadium. ”We

had a good road trip, 5-2. We’ll take that every time and now we’re

going home.

”We’re kind of playing against spoiler teams and that’s what

they’re going to try to do to us, spoil it for us. We have to find

that bottle of Red Bull energy.”

Chen was pulled in the sixth after giving up a single to Michael

Bourn and walking Swisher to lead off the inning.

”It’s what he always does,” Swisher said of Chen. ”It was

nothing special. He’s one of those guys where you get yourself out.

You get what you see from the guy.”

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.

”Down two, I thought we had a lot of opportunities.” Swisher

said. ”We had chances. I think we can step it up and with the

veteran leadership we have here, myself and Jason (Giambi) and

Michael (Bourn), we can get into these guys’ heads and take

advantage of our opportunities.”

Royals relievers Tim Collins, Will Smith and Greg Holland

preserved the lead, allowing just one hit, to keep the team’s

playoff chances alive.

”We had chances,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.

”Obviously if we cash in we go to different guys out of the

pen.”

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.

”I think it was a good road trip,” Salazar said. ”We got five

out of seven and now we go back home. For me it’s very exciting. I

know I’m here to do the very best I can to get to the playoffs and

the wild card.”

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.

”We’ve got to keep moving forward,” Gomes said. ”These guys

play good. It was kind of a big series, but maybe we’ll learn from

it and play a good series against Houston and give us a chance to

get to the playoffs.”

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.