STEVE HERRICK, Associated Press
Pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer singled in a run with two outs in the ninth inning, helping the Cleveland Indians move closer to an AL Central title with a 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
Guyer’s hit off Joakim Soria landed just fair in the right-field corner and scored Coco Crisp. Guyer was the third pinch-hitter of the inning used by manager Terry Francona.
Cleveland led Detroit by seven games in the division entering Tuesday. The Indians haven’t won the AL Central since 2007.
Brian Flynn (1-2) walked Jose Ramirez to start the ninth, then fumbled a bunt by Crisp, batting for Lonnie Chisenhall, down the first-base line for an error.
Catcher Salvador Perez threw Ramirez out at third on Abraham Almonte’s sacrifice attempt. Rajai Davis, batting for Tyler Naquin, hit a hard ground ball that deflected off Soria’s foot and rolled to first baseman Eric Hosmer for the out.
Guyer then delivered with the winner that fell in despite a sliding effort by right fielder Paulo Orlando.
The Royals, the reigning World Series champions, will be eliminated from contention in the division if they lose to Cleveland on Wednesday night.
Kansas City advanced a runner to third with one out in the eighth, but Andrew Miller (9-1) struck out pinch-hitter Christian Colon and Whit Merrifield before retiring the side in order in the ninth.
Carlos Santana led off the third with his 33rd home run, a drive deep into the lower deck in right field. Alex Gordon’s RBI single tied the game in the fifth.
Indians starter Josh Tomlin allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander held Kansas City to five hits, struck out three and didn’t walk a batter.
Edinson Volquez allowed Santana’s homer but held the Indians in check over 6 2/3 innings. He gave up four hits, struck out five and walked three.
Royals: OF Lorenzo Cain (left wrist inflammation), who last played on Sept. 9 at the White Sox, is traveling with the team.
Indians: Pitching coach Mickey Callaway said there’s a “small chance” Danny Salazar (strained forearm) will be available in the bullpen if Cleveland makes the playoffs. Salazar hasn’t pitched since Sept. 9 but played catch at 60 feet Tuesday.
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy is unbeaten in his last 10 starts, going 5-0 with a 2.14 ERA. His last road loss occurred July 1 at Philadelphia.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber seeks his career high-tying 18th victory. He is 9-5 with a 3.27 ERA in 15 home starts this season.