The Cleveland Indians are doing their best to remain a serious postseason contender.
Seeking a seventh win in eight games, the Indians can record a series sweep by handing the host Kansas City Royals a fourth consecutive defeat Sunday night.
One night after rolling to a 6-1 victory in the series opener, Cleveland (70-64) used RBIs singles from Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana in the 11th inning to win 3-2 on Saturday.
Winners in 13 of 18, the Indians are 3 1/2 games back of the Royals (74-61) and Detroit, who share the top spot in the AL Central. Cleveland also is 3 1/2 games out of the final wild-card spot.
Kansas City, meanwhile, has dropped five of seven since winning 24 of 30.
'It's extremely agonizing,' Royals manager Ned Yost said. 'It's frustrating.'
Santana, who hit six home runs while homering in four straight contests at Kansas City prior to Saturday, is batting .417 with 15 RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak against the Royals. He's 15 for 31 with 14 of those RBIs over eight games at Kauffman Stadium this season.
"He plays well against us," Kansas City outfielder Lorenzo Cain told MLB's official website. "We've got to figure out a way to get him out."
Santana and Brantley are a combined 9 for 23 against scheduled starter Danny Duffy (8-11, 2.47 ERA).
The left-hander gave up four runs, two homers and 10 total hits in six innings of a 4-1 loss to the Indians on July 6, then yielded two hits and struck out seven over seven scoreless innings of a 2-1, 14-inning home victory against them July 24.
For a second straight start overall, Duffy allowed an earned run, this time over 6 1-3 innings while not factoring in the decision of a 2-1 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday.
Though Duffy is 6-6 in his last 16 starts, he's posted a 2.08 ERA while yielding two or fewer earned runs in 13 of those outings.
The Indians counter with T.J. House (2-3, 4.18), who went 1-1 with a 1.65 ERA and didn't allow a run in two of his first three starts since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 2. However, he gave up five runs in 4 2-3 innings of an 8-6, 10-inning victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.
The rookie left-hander allowed three runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 7-5 home win over Kansas City on July 5.
Billy Butler went 2 for 3 against House in that contest, but is 1 for 9 with three strikeouts in this series.
Teammate Salvador Perez had two doubles with an RBI on Saturday, and is batting .316 with four RBIs in his last four contests.
The Royals went 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position and stranded 16 runners Saturday, twice leaving the bases loaded.
'That's tough, leaving that many runners on base,' Cain said. 'We should have definitely beat these kids. We just didn't get the job done.
"We've got to come through in those tight situations if we want to get to the playoffs.'
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved