James Shields kept the Indians off balance for six innings, Salvador Perez led a scrappy Kansas City offense and the Royals pounded Cleveland 7-1 on Monday night to open a three-game set with significant playoff implications.
Shields struck out a season-high 10 for the Royals (79-71), who moved within 2 1/2 games of the AL's second wild-card berth. The Indians (81-69) remained a half-game back of Texas, which lost to Tampa Bay earlier in the night in a matchup of teams leading the wild-card race.
Shields (12-9) allowed only Lonnie Chisenhall's solo homer before turning the game over to his stingy bullpen. Wade Davis, Luke Hochevar and Tim Collins did the rest in a steady drizzle.
Scott Kazmir (8-9) gave up four runs in 5-plus innings for the Indians. He didn't get a whole lot of help from his offense, which racked up a season-high 17 strikeouts.