Trying for a series sweep, the Cleveland Indians will close out their three-game set with the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field.
Lonnie Chisenhall's sixth-inning grand slam proved to be the crucial blow on Saturday night as the Indians took down the Royals, 5-3. With the Tigers' loss, the Indians moved just 1 1/2 games back of first place in the American League Central.
"It's a good feeling, probably the best one of my career so far, especially being my first grand slam," Chisenhall said. "It was a big game for us."
Chisenhall finished 2-for-4 and Jason Kipnis was 3-for-3 with an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base.
Earning the win was Scott Kazmir (5-4), who allowed just two runs on four hits over 6 1/3 innings while striking out six. Kazmir has surrendered three earned runs or less in five straight starts.
Chris Perez shut the door in the ninth inning for his 12th save.
Jeremy Guthrie (8-7) was saddled with the loss, yielding eight hits, three walks and five earned runs in seven innings of work.
All of the Royals' runs came in the seventh inning, with Miguel Tejada and Alcides Escobar both connecting on RBI singles.
Kansas City will turn to its ace on Sunday afternoon when James Shields takes the hill. Shields has impressed in his first season with the Royals, boasting a 3.12 ERA, but he's been a victim of poor run support, which has resulted in a sub par 4-6 record.
Shields was outstanding his last time out, allowing just one earned run in seven innings of work on July 9 to out-match CC Sabathia in a 3-1 win over the Yankees.
"Forget the record. The record has nothing to do with how well he's pitched," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Shields. "He's been as good as you would hope a No. 1 starter can be."
Cleveland has had the better of Shields in two previous matchups this season, as the right-hander has given up six earned runs in 11 1/3 innings against his AL Central rivals in 2013.
For the Indians, Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4, 4.37 ERA) will try to continue his recent hot streak.
Jimenez has won three straight decisions and, dating back to late May, has allowed three earned runs or less in nine consecutive starts. His latest outing was one of his best of the season, yielding just five hits in six scoreless innings in a July 9 win over Toronto.
The hard-throwing right-hander has not pitched particularly well at Progressive Field this season, boasting a 5.80 ERA at home compared to a 3.31 ERA on the road.
The Indians own a slight 7-5 advantage in the season series, having won five of the past seven encounters.
The Sports Network