Santana homerlifts Indians overKansas City, 5-2


Associated Press



CLEVELAND — Carlos Santana’s three-run homer pushed the Cleveland Indians to a 5-2 win over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night and nearer to their first AL Central championship since 2007.

Santana’s shot in the sixth inning off Dillon Gee (7-9) snapped a 2-2 tie as the Indians improved to 9-1 against the Royals this season.

Kansas City’s chances of making the postseason took another blow. The defending World Series champions began the night behind six teams in the wild-card chase.

Reliever Dan Otero (5-1) pitched two scoreless innings, Bryan Shaw worked one and Cody Allen pitched a perfect ninth for his 29th save.

Jason Kipnis homered for the Indians, who can wrap up a postseason berth this weekend against the Chicago White Sox.

Alcides Escobar hit a two-run homer for the Royals.

Santana, who hit an RBI double in the first, has been on a tear the past two days.

Gee hit Kipnis to start the sixth and Francisco Lindor walked. One out later, Santana drove his 34th homer into the right-field seats. After he crossed home plate, Santana pointed at NBA free agent swingman J.R. Smith, who helped the Cavaliers win the NBA title this year and end Cleveland’s 52-year championship drought.

Santana went 7 for 12 with five RBIs in the Indians’ series sweep.

With Cleveland starters Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar dealing with injuries and likely out for the playoffs, Mike Clevinger could hold a pivotal role for the Indians in October. The rookie showed poise in working out of potential trouble as the Royals put the leadoff man on in three straight innings.

It was a solid postseason audition for Clevinger, who allowed four hits in five innings before giving way to Cleveland’s solid bullpen.

The Indians jumped on Jason Vargas for two runs in the first.

Kipnis made it 1-0 with his 23rd homer. Once he was back in the dugout, the second baseman was carried through a lineup of welcoming teammates by catcher Chris Gimenez and outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall, a celebratory ride that has become a staple this season.

Santana fouled a ball off his left foot and received a visit from manager Terry Francona and a trainer before ripping a two-out RBI double to center.

Escobar’s shot to center tied it 2-2 in the second. It was Escobar’s sixth homer in his last 149 at-bats, quite a power surge for the shortstop who had homered just once in his previous 600 at-bats.

Associated Press

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