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Guthrie, Royals drop Indians

By TOM WITHERS

Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- September is almost halfway over. The Kansas City Royals are nowhere near finished.

They won't go away.

Jeremy Guthrie got a major assist from his defense in pitching six innings, Alcides Escobar hit a rare home run and the Royals snapped a six-game losing streak in Cleveland, 6-3 on Tuesday night to close on the Indians and two others in the AL's cramped wild-card scramble.

Guthrie (14-10) allowed just one run and nine hits, but was helped by three double plays as the Royals, coupled with Tampa Bay's loss to Boston, pulled within three games of a wild-card spot.

"We're excited," Guthrie said. "We know there's teams ahead of us. If we win games, we have a chance. If we don't, we don't. The scoreboard watching makes it fun. We know we have to win a lot of games. We have to win series to give ourselves a chance."

Mike Moustakas hit a two-run double in the sixth off Zach McAllister (7-9) and the hanging-tough Royals won for the 12th time in 17 games.

Kansas City had lost seven in a row before this stretch and was on the verge of falling from the race. But the Royals are still in the thick of the wide-open playoff chase, and could still have a say in the AL Central with three games later this week at first-place Detroit.

"I don't even remember the seven straight," Moustakas said of the Royals' slide last month. "That's the key -- just forget it. We go out there every night with the same mindset, to win a ballgame at all costs. We stick with that. "

Royals reliever Luke Hochevar struck out all five batters he faced, and closer Greg Holland worked a perfect ninth for his 41st save.

Guthrie wasn't overpowering, but he didn't allow a walk and let his defense get him out of trouble. Kansas City's infield turned double plays in the third, fourth and sixth innings to back the right-hander, who won for just the second time in seven starts.

Michael Bourn had two RBIs for Cleveland.