KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Cleveland Indians picked a bad time for their offense to go flat.
With little margin for error in the AL Central race, the Indians were held to three hits Saturday night in a 5-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
The, coupled with Detroit's 9-8 comeback win over the Chicago White Sox, puts Cleveland 6 1/2 games back in the division.
The Indians couldn't solve Royals' right-hander Luke Hochevar, who allowed just one unearned run over eight innings.
``Hochevar pitched an outstanding ballgame,' Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. ``He was as good as we've seen him the last two years. He had every one of his pitches working and he dominated our lineup.'
The Indians went on top in the first after an errant pickoff throw by Hochevar allowed Ezequiel Carrera to go from first to third. Carrera scored on Carlos Santana's sacrifice fly.
But the Indians were blanked the rest of the way and will have to settle for trying to take two of three in the weekend series in Sunday's finale.
Acta just wants his club to focus on the job at hand and not concern itself with what the Tigers are doing.
``We're the Indians, we don't worry about Detroit,' Acta said. ``We worry about what we can do. Who cares what Detroit does if we don't win? We have to take care of our own business.'
Indians starter David Huff (2-3) surrendered a two-run double to Jeff Francoeur in the first and the Royals continued to tack on runs while the Indians' offense was stuck in neutral.
``We have to start winning or before we know it our season will be over,' Huff said.
Kansas City manager Ned Yost saluted Hochever for shutting down the Cleveland offense.
``His sinker was as good as I've ever seen it,' Yost said. ``He had tremendous movement to it and used all his pitches effectively tonight. That was a nice job by him.'
Hochevar threw a career-high 117 pitches before Greg Holland worked a perfect ninth.
``The key to it is having a simple approach and a clear approach,' Hochevar said. ``You just kind of get out of your own way and let everything you've learned and experienced take over.'
Following Francoeur's two-run double in the first, Kansas City kept pecking away.
Alex Gordon added a run-scoring fielder's choice in the second, Billy Butler doubled in a run in the fifth and Johnny Giavotella capped the scoring with his second homer in the sixth. That was plenty of offense for Hochevar.
``(Hochevar) was working fast and keeping us on our toes out there,' Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer said. ``It seemed like we were on offense most of the game. It was his night and he threw a great game.'
NOTES: Chris Getz started at shortstop for Kansas City after Alcides Escobar sprained his left ankle on Friday. Yost said he doesn't anticipate Escobar being sidelined for long. To bolster their infield depth, the Royals recalled Yamaico Navarro from Triple-A Omaha. ... The Indians kept SS Asdrubal Cabrera (left knee contusion) out of the lineup, but Acta expects him back for the final game of the weekend series. ``I'm very confident he'll be able to play (Sunday),' Acta said. ... Indians OF Grady Sizemore, battling back from a right knee injury, was scheduled to play nine innings for Triple-A Columbus on Saturday. Acta hasn't ruled out the possibility that Sizemore could rejoin the Indians sometime next week.
The Associated Press News Service
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