Indians close in on AL Central title, beat Royals 8-4

Posted at 7:18 PM, Sep 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-16 19:30:30-04

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Francisco Lindor hit an RBI double and the Cleveland Indians bounced back after having their record streak stopped at 22 by beating the Kansas City Royals 8-4 on Saturday to move to the brink of an AL Central title.

Lindor's double in the sixth off Jason Hammel (8-12) gave the All-Star shortstop an extra-base hit in a club-record 10 straight games. The major league record is 14 straight, shared by Chipper Jones (2006) and Paul Waner (1927).

Carlos Carrasco (16-6) pitched into the seventh as the Indians improved to 32-5 in their last 37 games.

With the win, the Indians clinched at least a tie for the division and dropped their magic number for repeating as champs to one. If Minnesota loses later at home against Toronto, Cleveland will clinch and take the next step in getting back to the World Series.

A victory by the Twins would mean the Indians could lock up the division on Sunday, when ace and Cy Young co-favorite Corey Kluber starts the finale of the season's longest homestand at Progressive Field.

Edwin Encarnacion hit his 35th homer for Cleveland.

Alex Gordon connected for the Royals, whose wild-card hopes took another blow.

Less than 24 hours after losing for the first time in three weeks, the defending AL champion Indians returned to the business of taking their second straight division crown and ninth since 1995.
Following Friday's 4-3 loss, the Indians were warmly saluted by their fans, who and gave them a rousing standing ovation in appreciation for the longest win streak baseball has seen since the 1916 New York Giants won 26 in a row.
No doubt the streak was fun, but it served as little more than a September diversion for these Indians. They have one goal -- a Series title -- after losing in seven games last year to the Chicago Cubs.
The sensational Lindor is leading their charge.
With the Indians up by a run and with two on in the sixth, Lindor doubled high off the left-field wall to make 5-2. It was Lindor's 40th double and broke a tie with Hal Trosky, who hit either a double, triple or homer in nine consecutive games for Cleveland in 1934.
Lindor then scored on a play the Royals would like to forget.
Austin Jackson hit an RBI single and took second on center fielder Lorenzo Cain's throw to the plate. Catcher Drew Butera tried to get Jackson at second, but his throw was wide of the base. It got past Cain, and Jackson came all the way home to complete a Little League homer.
Royals: All-Star C Salvador Perez (pulled muscle in right side) will likely be out until Tuesday when Kansas City opens a series in Toronto. He hurt himself taking a swing on Thursday.
Indians: OF Brandon Guyer aggravated a wrist injury that sidelined him for six weeks earlier this season. He'll undergo treatment and is expected to miss 5-to-7 days. Manager Terry Francona said Guyer will not leave with the team for the season's final road trip to Los Angeles and Seattle. ... OF Jason Kipnis got medical clearance to be activated Sunday and will play at least five innings in center field, the two-time All-Star second baseman's first game in the outfield since he was in the minors in 2009.
Kluber pitched a five-hit shutout in his last start and is 8-1 in his last nine starts. He'll face LHP Danny Duffy, who will make his first start since Aug. 22 after being on the disabled list with a sore elbow.