Royals vs Indians: Shields Helps KC Draw Within 2 Back In Wild Card


Two back! The Kansas City Royals (77-69) defeated the Cleveland Indians (77-68) by a score of 6-2 Wednesday afternoon to pull within 2 games of the second American League playoff spot. The Royals incredibly remain in 6th place in this race. Two games back in 6th place is a whole lot different (and better!) than five games back and in 6th place. The Royals have 16 games remaining.

Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

On the Mound

Some folks don’t consider James Shields an ace, but he is ace enough. Shields had his worst line of his career last Friday (10 runs, 14 hits, 3.2 innings – thanks for that Ned Yost), but he bounced back in spectacular fashion yesterday. Shields gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and a hit batsman in the first inning – and didn’t give up another hit until the 9th inning! Shields continues to show his teammates what it means to compete and his post season experience is invaluable down this stretch.

After the first two batters got hits in the ninth off Shields, Greg Holland was brought in with 2 on and no outs – and promptly struck out the side for his 42nd save.

What a couple of incredible performances from the two stalwarts of this pitching staff!

At the Plate

Alex Gordon led off the game with his team leading 19th home run of the season. Emilio Bonifacio followed with a triple, then singles by Eric Hosmer, Justin Maxwell, and Lorenzo Cain produced two more runs for the Royals in the first. They never trailed in this one.

Bonifacio had three hits on the day, scoring 2 runs. Lorenzo Cain had 2 hits and a pair of runs produced. The Royals had 11 hits as team in the victory.

This and That

It was the 13th time in his career Alex Gordon led off a game with a home run. He has led off 32 innings with homers as well over his career. In June, I wrote about just how awful Gordon was batting lead-off. He has improved his numbers leading off games significantly since then. He was hitting just .109 leading off in 51 games at that time. Since that day, he is hitting .340 in 53 games leading off games. At that time, I was questioning Gordon’s competence batting first. I now believe that is where he is the most comfortable and the most productive. His stats over his career back that up. (Translation – I was wrong!)

Emilio Bonifacio was either really uncomfortable in Toronto or just extremely comfortable in Kansas City. Since joining the Royals, he has played in 28 games and has a slash of .304/.374/.392/.766. It is a small sample size but it is very encouraging. Bonifacio, who is making $2.6 million this season, is still arbitration eligible this off season. He may be a bargain at what he will cost the Royals – I’m guessing it would be in the $3.2-$3.4 million range.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

Big Game James Shields earned his nickname and status on this day. He gets the POG as well. High honorable to Greg Holland for squelching any Indian hopes for a comeback.

Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians

Scott Kazmir lasted just 4 innings against the Royals, giving up 4 runs (1 unearned) on 9 hits.

The Tribe only had 4 hits on the day but one was a 2-run single by Michael Brantley. He has 11 RBI against the Royals in 2013.  He is hitting .356 with runners in scoring position this season.

Up Next

The Royals get a much deserved day off before starting a 3-game series in Detroit on Friday. Bruce Chen (7-2, 2.79 ERA) is slated to take the bump for the Royals in game 1 against Justin Verlander (12-11, 3.64 ERA) at 6:08 on Friday.

AL Central Notes

Detroit Tigers (84-62): Anibal Sanchez out dueled the White Sox to bring home the 1-0 win. Sanchez struck out 10 in his 7.1 innings, allowing 5 hits and issuing 4 walks. Prince Fielder knocked in the only Detroit run.

Minnesota Twins (63-81): Things continue to fall apart for the Twins, who gave up 18 runs, including 10 in the 4th inning alone, to the Athletics. Mike Pelfrey gave up 7 runs on 8 hits in just 3 innings in the 18-3 shellacking. Rookie Eric Fryer hit his 1st career home run in the loss.

Chicago White Sox (58-87): Shortstop Leury Garcia had 3 of the White Sox’ 5 hits against Detroit in the 1-0 loss. Jose Quintana pitched 7 scoreless frames, yielding 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6.


  1. Texas Rangers (81-64, 0 GB)
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (78-66, 0 GB)
  3. New York Yankees (78-68, 1 GB)
  4. Cleveland Indians (77-68, 1.5 GB)
  5. Baltimore Orioles (77-68, 1.5 GB)
  6. Kansas City Royals (77-69, 2 GB)