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Indians pull out extra-inning win over Royals

Aug 31, 2014 - 5:39 AM Kansas City, MO ( - The AL Central just got a lot more crowded at the top of the standings.

Michael Brantley hit an RBI single and scored the deciding run in the 11th inning Saturday as the Cleveland Indians stole a 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals in the middle test of a three-game series.

The Indians have won six of their last seven and climbed within 3 1/2 games of the division leaders. The Tigers pulled even with the Royals for first place after splitting Saturday's doubleheader against the White Sox.

"We used just about everybody. That was one of the (more fun) games to be a part of," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It certainly helps when you win."

The Royals had plenty of opportunities at pulling out the win, as they went 2- for-18 with runners in scoring position and left 16 on base.

"Leaving that many runs on base, we should've definitely beat these guys," said Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain.

They had the bases loaded with one out in the 10th and came up empty, as Josh Tomlin (6-8) got Alcides Escobar to bounce into a force out at home and struck out Jayson Nix, who was picked up off waivers earlier this week.

Jose Ramirez greeted Scott Downs (0-4) in the 11th with an opposite-field line drive to the right-field gap. The rookie shortstop, who made two questionable plays in the field that led to the tying run in the eighth, legged out a triple and scored when Brantley chopped one over Omar Infante at second base.

Brantley later scored on a Carlos Santana base hit, and the run proved vital after Salvador Perez's two-out double plated Jarrod Dyson in the bottom half.

Tomlin finished off the nail-biter by striking out Erik Kratz on a called third strike.

Kansas City scored the tying run in the eighth without recording a hit thanks to Jason Kipnis and Ramirez miscommunicating on a potential double-play ball. After Alex Gordon worked a leadoff walk, Billy Butler hit a bouncer back to reliever Scott Atchison, who wheeled and fired to the second-base bag.

Kipnis and Ramirez both converged and neither took control, and the ball wound up in center field. Gordon advanced to third on the error, and the Royals loaded the bases with one out.

C.C. Lee got Cain to hit a chopper to short, and Ramirez made another mistake by trying to turn a tough 6-4-3 double play rather than throw home for the easy force out. The speedy Cain beat out the throw to first by a full stride as Gordon crossed the plate.

The Indians opened the scoring in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Kipnis and Yan Gomes.

Trevor Bauer impressively escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the first inning by striking out Butler, Perez and Raul Ibanez in succession, then kept the Royals off the board after walking the first two batters in the fourth.

Game Notes

Both teams were wearing 1974-style retro uniforms ... Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway was ejected in the first inning for arguing a called check swing ... Royals starter James Shields lasted seven innings and allowed one run on five hits ... Bauer tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings despite walking five and giving up four hits ... Sunday night's three-game series finale will see Cleveland's T.J. House pitch against fellow lefty Danny Duffy ... The loss ended Kansas City's streak of 11 unbeaten series dating back to late July ... Game time: 4:23.