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Saturday, September 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A.L. wild card roundup: Cleveland joins Central race

Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez is congratulated by Carlos Santana after scoring the go-ahead run in the 11th inning. (Associated Press)
Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez is congratulated by Carlos Santana after scoring the go-ahead run in the 11th inning. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

It’s getting very crowded at the top of the A.L Central. The surging Cleveland Indians have turned the division into one of baseball’s best playoff races.

Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana had RBI singles in the 11th inning, leading the Indians to a 3-2 win over the sliding Kansas City Royals on Saturday night in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas City has lost three in a row to fall into a first-place tie with Detroit, which split a doubleheader at Chicago. Cleveland, which has won six of seven, is just 3 1/2 back.

“It’s extremely agonizing,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It’s frustrating.”

The Royals got a run back in the bottom of the 11th when Salvador Perez’s two-out double scored Jarrod Dyson. But Erik Kratz struck out to end the game.

Jose Ramirez sparked Cleveland’s winning rally with a leadoff triple. Brantley followed with a base hit against Scott Downs (0-4).

“It was a hustle triple,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I about swallowed my tobacco when he went around second. Instead of Brantley trying to get the runner over they have to bring the infield in and he hit a chopper over the infield.”

Brantley then stole second and went to third on Perez’s throwing error before Santana singled into center field.

White Sox 6-4, Tigers 3-8: Kyle Ryan pitched six scoreless innings in his major league debut, and visiting Detroit salvaged a split of a doubleheader against Chicago with an 8-4 win.

Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera pulled up lame while running out a grounder in the fourth inning, forcing him from the game. The All-Star has been dealing with a sore right ankle.

In the opener, Chris Sale struck out a season-high 13, beating Max Scherzer in a matchup of aces and leading Chicago to a 6-3 win.

Ezequiel Carrera, Don Kelly and Ian Kinsler each had three hits for Detroit in the nightcap. Ryan allowed five hits and walked two.

In his third at-bat, Cabrera hit a smash up the middle that glanced off pitcher Chris Bassitt and rolled several feet behind the mound. Bassitt was able to retrieve the ball and throw out Cabrera on what should have been a close play. Rajai Davis scored on the groundout to cap a three-run inning for a 5-0 lead.

Cabrera went 1 for 7 on the day with four strikeouts, two on called third strikes. His batting average dipped to .299, the first time it has been below .300 since May 16.

Blue Jays 2, Yankees 0: Drew Hutchison pitched seven shutout innings, Jose Bautista homered for the fourth straight game and the Blue Jays beat New York at Toronto.

Mark Teixeira’s fourth-inning double was the only hit allowed by Hutchison (9-11), who walked two and struck out nine.

Aaron Sanchez retired all six batters he faced for his first major league save as the Blue Jays improved to 8-17 in August and, at 68-67, avoided falling below .500 for the first time since May 14, when they were 20-21.

Bautista hit a two-out, two-run homer off Michael Pineda (3-3) in the first. It’s the second time in his career Bautista has connected in four consecutive games. He also did it from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2, 2009.

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