September 23, 2016 1:00 AM
Indians close in on AL Central
CLEVELAND – Carlos Santana’s three-run homer pushed the Cleveland Indians to a 5-2 win over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night and nearer to their first AL Central championship since 2007.
Santana’s shot in the sixth inning off Dillon Gee (7-9) snapped a 2-2 tie as the Indians improved to 9-1 against the Royals this season.
Kansas City’s chances of making the postseason took another blow. The reigning World Series champions began the night behind six teams in the wild-card chase.
Reliever Dan Otero (5-1) pitched two scoreless innings, Bryan Shaw worked one and Cody Allen pitched a perfect ninth for his 29th save.
Jason Kipnis homered for the Indians, who can wrap up a postseason berth this weekend against the Chicago White Sox.
Alcides Escobar hit a two-run homer for the Royals.
Gee hit Kipnis to start the sixth and Francisco Lindor walked. One out later, Santana drove his 34th homer into the right-field seats. Santana went 7 for 12 with five RBI in the Indians’ series sweep.
TIGERS 9-4, TWINS 2-2: In Minneapolis, Justin Upton and Victor Martinez homered as Detroit won the opener of a day-night doubleheader. In the nightcap, Justin Verlander tied a season-high with 11 strikeouts to lead the Detroit sweep. Erick Aybar drove in two runs for Detroit, which moved a half-game ahead of Baltimore for the second wild card and trails Toronto by one game. The Tigers went 9-0 at Minnesota this year..
Upton hit a tiebreaking homer off Alex Wimmers (1-3) in the seventh for a 2-1 lead. Jose Iglesias had a sacrifice fly in the eighth, and Martinez pinch hit had a three-homer home run against Pat Light in a six-run ninth.
RED SOX 5, ORIOLES 3: In Baltimore, David Price won his eighth straight decision, and Hanley Ramirez homered as Boston completed a four-game sweep Baltimore. Boston has won eight straight to open a 51/2-game lead over idle Toronto in the AL East. With 13 victories in their last 16 games, the Red Sox have moved within one game of Texas for best record in the AL.