Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

Cleveland leads 2-0 (as of 8/20)

Game 1: Tuesday, August 19
Kansas City4Final
Cleveland9
Game 2: Wednesday, August 20
Kansas City5Final
Cleveland8
Game 3: Thursday, August 21
Kansas City3Final
Cleveland10

Royals 5

(55-71, 27-37 away)

Indians 8

(58-67, 35-29 home)

    7:05 PM ET, August 20, 2008

    Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    KC 100040000 5 7 1
    CLE 21000005 - 8 5 1

    W: J. Rincon (3-3)

    L: J. Soria (1-3)

    S: J. Lewis (4)

    Cleveland rallies in 8th to stay hot; Royals' Maier hit in face by pitch

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- Franklin Gutierrez's confidence is catching up to his natural ability.

    Gutierrez hit a three-run homer in a five-run eighth inning and made a diving catch to end the game, as the Cleveland Indians rallied to defeat the Kansas City Royals 8-5 on Wednesday night.

    "I'm thinking positive and it is working," Gutierrez said. "After the home run, I was thinking, 'What if I finish the game with a great catch?' Then I did."

    The Indians' first four hits were homers, including two by Kelly Shoppach, and they won for the ninth time in 12 games. The Royals, meanwhile, have lost 11 of 13.

    "Any time you snap one away late like that, it feels good," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.

    Kansas City outfielder Mitch Maier left in the fifth inning after getting hit in the face by a pitch from Indians starter Zach Jackson during a four-run rally that put the Royals ahead 5-3.

    Maier immediately crumpled to the ground, and manager Trey Hillman and team trainers came out to check on him. Maier walked off the field and was taken to a hospital for X-rays, which revealed three broken bones below his right eye.

    Gutierrez connected off closer Joakim Soria (1-3) to ruin a fine performance by Kansas City starter Gil Meche, giving the win to Juan Rincon (3-3) after he worked a scoreless eighth.

    Jensen Lewis pitched the ninth for his fourth save. He retired three straight, getting the final out when Gutierrez raced toward the right-field line and made a diving catch of a fly ball hit by Alex Gordon.

    "I've made some adjustments and am playing with more confidence," said Gutierrez, who has hit .346 with three homers and 10 RBIs over his last 15 games to lift his average to .234.

    "This game felt good. It gives me more positive thinking."

    A year ago, Gutierrez hit .266 with 13 homers in only 271 at-bats to earn the starting job in right field down the stretch as Cleveland won the AL Central.

    Meche retired the final 17 batters he faced and gave up only two hits over seven innings. The right-hander struck out nine.

    Hillman said lifting Meche with a 5-3 lead was the right decision.

    "He's over 100 pitches," Hillman said. "It's late in the season. He's not going to have any extra rest. We're already falling apart with our rotation. I don't understand why there would be second guessing. If people want to second guess, that's fine.

    "I could have sent him back out for another one, but we just lost two guys in our rotation."

    Kyle Davies was sent to the minors last week and Luke Hochevar went on the disabled list before the game with a right rib contusion.

    Meche yielded a two-run homer to Jhonny Peralta, his 20th, in the first inning. Shoppach homered to open the Indians' second for a 3-1 lead, then Meche pitched perfect ball.

    "I felt fine," Meche said. "I felt good. It's a game we should have won."

    Ramon Ramirez began the bottom of the eighth, and Shoppach hit his 14th homer on the reliever's second pitch to get make it 5-4.

    Pinch-hitter Shin-Soo Choo walked and was sacrificed to second by Asdrubal Cabrera. Soria came on and walked Grady Sizemore, then yielded Gutierrez's seventh homer.

    "He's had some big hits lately and there's not many bigger than that," Wedge said. "He really stepped up."

    One out later, Soria hit Peralta with a pitch and walked David Dellucci. Ryan Garko's RBI single made it 8-5.

    Mike Aviles' three-run double on the first pitch after Jackson hit Maier put the Royals ahead 4-3.

    Gordon and John Buck singled to start the Royals' fifth. With Maier squaring around to bunt, Jackson threw a pitch up and in and the Royals outfielder could not get out of the way.

    Aviles later stole third as DeJesus struck out and scored when catcher Shoppach threw the ball down the left-field line for an error.

    The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the first on a sacrifice fly by Jose Guillen.

    Jackson yielded four earned runs over seven innings in his second start since being called up from Triple-A Buffalo on Aug. 13. One of four players acquired July 7 in the trade that sent CC Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers, Jackson walked one and struck out four.

    Game notes


    The Royals called up LHP Josh Newman from Triple-A Omaha when Hochevar went on the DL. ... Gordon returned to the Royals lineup after missing Tuesday's game with a stiff back. He went 1-for-4 and made a throwing error. ... Buck went 1-for-2 and is in a 3-for-44 skid since Aug. 3. ... Peralta joined Woody Held (1959-61) as the only shortstops in Indians history to hit 20 or more homers in three seasons. Peralta also did it in 2005 and 2007. ... It was Shoppach's second multihomer game of the season and career.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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