CLEVELAND — The World Series champion Royals are on the verge of being dethroned in their division.
Brandon Guyer singled off Joakim Soria with two out in the ninth inning, scoring Coco Crisp from third base and giving the Cleveland Indians a 2-1 victory over Kansas City on Tuesday night.
The Royals trail first-place Cleveland by 10 1/2 games in the AL Central and will be eliminated from the division race if they lose Wednesday at Progressive Field.
“This is the situation we’re in now,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “It’s been a very different year, and we’ve had a lot of injuries.”
Alex Gordon and Cheslor Cuthbert each had two hits for the Royals, who are five games behind Baltimore for the final AL wild-card spot with 11 to play. Gordon’s RBI single in the fifth plated Salvador Perez with the tying run.
Kansas City left-hander Brian Flynn (1-2) began the ninth by walking Jose Ramirez, then allowed Crisp to reach on a sacrifice bunt when he fumbled the ball.
Soria entered with one out and retired Rajai Davis on a grounder that caromed off his left cleat on the mound. Guyer followed with a winning single that landed just inside the line in the right-field corner.
“It was fair by a couple of inches, barely fair, where you can’t get to it,” Yost said, shaking his head. “And right before, if that ball doesn’t hit (Soria’s) foot, it’s a double-play ball straight to (second baseman Whit) Merrifield. A lot of things happened in the ninth.”
Soria declined to speak with the media, but Flynn blamed himself for the loss.
“That was about as hand-wrapped as you could give it to them,” he said. “Between my leadoff walk and the error, they hurt us about equal.”
Indians left-hander Andrew Miller (9-1) tossed the final 1 2/3 innings for the win. He stranded Terrance Gore at third in the eighth with back-to-back called strikeouts of Christian Colon and Merrifield.
Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez allowed four hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out five in his first quality start since Aug. 14. He gave up a solo homer to Carlos Santana in the third to open the scoring.
“The Indians are real good and they’ve been good the whole year,” Volquez said. “All you can do is give it everything you can. I did that, so I feel good. I only made one bad pitch to Santana, who is a good hitter and has a lot of power.”
Kansas City only managed six hits in the game. Five of them were off Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin, who allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings.
OVER AND OUT
Yost and SS Alcides Escobar were ejected for arguing balls and strikes Monday by umpire Toby Basner during an 8-3 loss at the White Sox. Yost said he considers the disagreement in the past.
“That was an isolated incident with one umpire,” he said. “There is no carryover.”
Royals: OF Lorenzo Cain (left wrist inflammation), who last played on Sept. 9 at the White Sox, is traveling with the team. He has appeared in one game since Aug. 31.
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 to tie his career high with his 18th victory. He is 9-5 with a 3.27 ERA in 15 home starts this season.