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the series between clubs that are in contention for the
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CLEVELAND -- The Kansas City Royals believe they are in the American League playoff chase to stay. They might start convincing others, too. The Royals gained ground in the wild card race on Wednesday with a 6-2 win over the Cleveland Indians. Kansas City took two of three in the series between clubs that are in contention for the second wild card spot in the AL. The Royals, who entered Wednesday trailing Tampa Bay by three games, moved a game closer to the Indians. Cleveland came in 1 1/2 games behind the Rays. "To come in here and win a series against a tough Cleveland team was huge for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Especially considering where we are at this point of the season. Losses hurt now. Youve got to try to really keep them at a minimum if you can." Alex Gordon homered on the games first pitch, and James Shields dominated after a shaky first inning for the Royals, who have won 13 of 18. "These guys have developed a lot of experience this year," Shields said. "Weve gone through so many ups and downs this year that weve been through every situation you can think of almost. These guys know what it takes. They know how to win." The Royals had a home run, a triple and a single within the games first seven pitches to take a 2-0 lead. Kansas City added another run in the first inning. Shields (11-9) gave up two runs, two hits, and hit a batter in the bottom half before he took control. Michael Brantley had a two-run single in the first, but Shields didnt allow another hit until Jason Kipnis leadoff single in the ninth. He retired 16 of 17 going into the ninth, but was removed after allowing singles to Kipnis and Carlos Santana. Shields allowed four hits, struck out seven and walked one. Greg Holland retired the last three hitters for his 42nd save. Gordon jumped on a 90 mph fastball from Scott Kazmir (8-8) and lined it into the seats in right field for his 13th career leadoff homer. "Its not my first rodeo, so Ive done it before," Gordon said. "Sometimes youve just got to mix it up, especially with Kazmir with his electric stuff." "He said he was going to do it," Yost said. "He picks his spots." Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain added RBI singles. The Indians won the first game of the series and finished 5-4 on their homestand, but failed to gain ground in the playoff chase for the second straight day. Cleveland will begin a seven-game trip in Chicago on Thursday. The Indians and Royals meet again in Kansas City next week for a three-game series. "Theyre a good team," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Theyre right where we are. Theyre a real good team." Kansas City went 26-18 in a stretch of 44 games in 44 days. Emilio Bonifacio followed Gordons homer with a triple, and Hosmer singled to centre to make it 2-0. Kazmir retired the next two hitters, but Justin Maxwell singled, and Cain lined a single to centre for the third run. Shields also struggled in the first. Michael Bourn walked and Mike Aviles was hit by a pitch. The runners moved up on a groundout, and Brantley singled to centre with two outs. Shields got the start following his shortest outing of the season, a start against Detroit on Friday in which he matched career worsts by allowing 10 runs and 14 hits in 3 2-3 innings in a 16-2 loss. He bounced back Wednesday and improved to 2-5 in 13 career starts against Cleveland. After the first, Shields pitched like the ace the Royals envisioned he would be when they acquired him from the Rays for outfielder Wil Myers, one of baseballs top prospects. The right-hander leads the AL with 207 2-3 innings pitched. "James comes off his arguably worst start of the year and has arguably his best start of the year," Yost said. "He just put us on his back today and carried us." Shields biggest problem came with his own defence when he made two errors in the third. He dropped a throw from Hosmer at first base, allowing Kipnis to reach safely. He then threw wildly to first trying to pick off Kipnis, but retired Santana to end the inning. Kazmir allowed four runs and nine hits in four innings. He struck out a season-high 12 over six scoreless innings in an 8-1 victory over the New York Mets in his last outing. NOTES: The Royals will skip LHP Danny Duffys next start, which was scheduled to be Friday in Detroit. LHP Bruce Chen will pitch that game instead. Right-handers Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie will pitch Saturday and Sunday, respectively. ... Indians 1B Nick Swisher wasnt in the lineup. He is batting .167 (8 for 48) with 15 strikeouts against Shields, including three hits in his last 25 at-bats. ... SS Asdrubal Cabrera, in a 3-for-27 slump, was also out of the lineup. He pinch-hit in the ninth and struck out. ... Kansas Citys off day on Thursday is its first since Aug. 19. ... Indians RHP Corey Kluber (8-5) faces LHP John Danks (4-12) in the series opener against the White Sox. Ryan Murray Blue Jackets Jersey . According the CSNBayArea.com, the 31-year-old suffered an ACL injury in his right knee on Friday when he collided with Anaheims Emerson Etem during a pre-season game. Markus Hannikainen Jersey . The biggest shock of this seasons competition was on when Watford took a 2-0 lead after 30 minutes at Etihad Stadium, only for a remarkable Aguero-led comeback by City in the final half-hour. The Argentina striker produced clinical finishes in the 60th and 79th minutes to level the score before Aleksandar Kolarov put City in front in the 87th. http://www.bluejacketsshop.com/authentic...ts-jersey/ .com) - It appears both the Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls will reach the playoffs, but the two squads are coming off losing efforts. Zach Werenski Blue Jackets Jersey . The 57-year-old Tietjens has coached New Zealand to nine IRB World Sevens titles and to four Commonwealth Games gold medals as its only coach in the professional era. New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said the re-signing was made with a focus on 2016 when sevens will be in the Olympics. Seth Jones Blue Jackets Jersey . The Redblacks host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-9) Friday night in their last home game of the year and as of Thursday afternoon, the team was anticipating a ninth consecutive sellout. You can watch all the action on TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, and TSN5 beginning at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt.SACKVILLE, N.B. -- Pascal Lochard carried the Laval Rouge et Or to their fourth-straight Vanier Cup. Lochard scored three touchdowns and rushed for 107 yards as Laval downed the Mount Allison Mounties 48-21 on Saturday to win the Uteck Bowl, Eastern Canadas university football championship. Lochards first two TDs gave Laval a 14-0 lead. The Rouge et Or would add to that, building a 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. "It wasnt our best performance of the season. After a great start, we made way too many mental mistakes, especially in the third quarter," said Laval head coach Glen Constantin, who felt the need to address his team on the sidelines early in the fourth quarter. "We went back to the basics in the fourth and had a few good drives. Well have to play better next week." Laval won Quebecs football championship, while the Mounties were the Atlantic conferences title holders. The Rouge-et-Or are the first team in Canadiian Interuniversity Sport history to advance to four straight Vanier Cups.dddddddddddd Alex Skinner completed 18-of-26 passes including two touchdown strikes to Maxime Boutin and Guillaume Rioux for Laval. Boutin was dominant, receiving for a total of 105 yards and rushing for another 163. "Were very happy with the win, especially since this was the first Bowl victory in the Maritimes in three tries for our program," said Rioux. "Were excited to go back to the show and defend our title at home." Rioux also scored on a punt return and the Rouge et Or had three team safeties. Kicker Boris Bede was six for six on conversions. Lavals dominance overshadowed a strong performance by Mount Allison QB Brandon Leyh, who completed 22-of-36 passes and had three touchdowns and 260 yards. Leyh connected with receivers Troy Trentham, Josh Blanchard and Stu Moore for the Mounties TDs. Kyle McLean converted all three extra points. ' ' '
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