Kansas City, MO – The Cleveland Indians kept pace in the heated AL wild-card race by rallying for a 5-3 win over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals looked primed to make up ground in the wild-card standings, keeping the Indians off the board through the first five innings behind the arm of Yordano Ventura, who was making his major league debut.
However, Cleveland scored at least one run in each of the final four innings to erase a 3-0 deficit and sit a half-game behind both the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers, who are tied for the wild-card spots. Kansas City fell to 3 1/2 games back.
The Indians finally solved the 22-year-old Ventura, summoned from Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday, in the sixth, as a single by Michael Brantley plated Nick Swisher.
Brantley's hit, the third of the inning and second with outs, resulted in Ventura giving way to the bullpen. Will Smith walked the lone batter he faced to load the bases, but Louis Coleman struck out Ryan Raburn to end the frame.
Cleveland, though, was unrelenting and capitalized on a hit batsman in the seventh. A one-out triple by Michael Bourn scored Yan Gomes, who absorbed a pitch from Kelvin Herrera. Bourn then raced home and tied the game on Nick Swisher's sacrifice fly.
Wade Davis (7-11) walked Carlos Santana to begin the eighth. Pinch-runner Drew Stubbs advanced on a groundout and scored the go-ahead run on an Asdrubal Cabrera double that was just out of the reach of Alex Gordon's glove.
Bourn's leadoff homer in the ninth provided some insurance for Chris Perez, who earned his 25th save with a flawless performance in the bottom of the inning.
"We just kept fighting and that's a good feeling to be apart of that and to watch those guys do that. That was one of the more gratifying games I've been apart of," said Indians manager Terry Francona.
Cody Allen (6-1) recorded the final two outs in the seventh to pick up the win.
Cleveland starter Corey Kluber gave up three runs and six hits over 4 2/3 innings.
Eric Hosmer hit an RBI double in the first and scored on Mike Moustakas' third-inning double that followed a sac fly by Salvador Perez.
"They stepped up, made some big swings over there. They're a good team. That's what good teams do," Hosmer said.
Ventura got the starting nod in place of Danny Duffy, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to Sept. 8) with a left forearm strain ... The Royals also placed infielder Carlos Pena (appendectomy) on the 60-day DL to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Ventura, who went a combined 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA and recorded 155 strikeouts in 134 2/3 innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Omaha.