CLEVELAND— Right-hander Kris Medlen turned in 6 1/3 strong innings and the Royals’ bullpen did the rest, claiming a 2-0 victory over the Indians on Tuesday night at Progressive Field. The win was only the third in the past 11 games for Kansas City.
For Cleveland, the loss cost the club in the American League Wild Card race. The Indians, who have won 13 of their last 19 games to pull back into the postseason discussion, dropped to five games behind Houston for the second Wild Card spot.
The Royals trimmed their magic number to clinch the AL Central to nine, with second-place Minnesota losing to Detroit, 5-4. They also increased their lead over Toronto for home-field advantage throughout to three games.
“We just needed a win to stop the bleeding,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
The Royals did not do much damage against righty Josh Tomlin, but Salvador Perez’s RBI single in the second and Alex Rios’ solo homer in the fifth proved sufficient in light of Medlen’s performance. The Kansas City starter scattered five hits with no strikeouts en route to the win.
“It’s a big win,” Rios said, “but we know what we can do and what we’re capable of doing.”
Tomlin was saddled with a hard-luck loss after allowing only two runs in a complete game, which included six strikeouts, four hits allowed and no walks issued. The Royals went 1-for-22 against the righty from the third inning on.
“He was so good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Tomlin. “Other than [a couple of mistakes], he just had such a good feel for everything: fastball, cutter, breaking ball. His breaking ball probably got better as the game went. He really pitched well.”