(SportsNetwork.com) - The AL Central race is heating up and both the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians are in the mix.
The Royals look to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Indians when the division foes close out their set Sunday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City is tied with the Detroit Tigers atop the division and the Indians are right behind at 3 1/2 games off the pace. The Tigers split a doubleheader with the Chicago White Sox on Saturday and moved into a tie for first in the Central after the Royals dropped a 3-2 decision in 11 innings.
Cleveland broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the 11th on RBI singles from Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana, while the Royals could only muster a run in the bottom half thanks to Salvador Perez's run-scoring double. Erik Kratz struck out looking to end the game for the Royals, losers in three straight and five of the past seven games.
Perez and Lorenzo Cain both had two hits and an RBI, while Kansas City reliever Scott Downs was dealt the loss for his work in the 11th. James Shields was strong in the start for the Royals and allowed just a run in seven innings of work.
The Royals had plenty of chances to put runs across the board and finished 2- for-18 with runners in scoring position and left 16 on base.
"Leaving that many runs on base, we should've definitely beat these guys," said Cain.
KC is 2-4 in a stretch of 10 straight games at home and will also host Texas for three games.
Kansas City is 6-1 in Danny Duffy's last seven outings and he gets the nod Sunday versus the Indians. Duffy did not record a decision in Tuesday's 2-1 win over Minnesota and held the Twins to a run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Duffy is 3-1 in his last four decisions and 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA in five career games (4 starts) against Cleveland. He defeated the Tribe on July 24 with seven scoreless innings in a 2-1 victory at Kauffman Stadium.
The Indians hope to move closer to the top of the AL Central and have won three in a row and six of the last seven games.
Brantley and Santana provided the big hits last night and Yan Gomes also drove in a run for Cleveland. Josh Tomlin, the seventh reliever used on Saturday, picked up the win with two innings of work and starting pitcher Trevor Bauer tossed 5 2/3 shutout innings.
"We used just about everybody. That was one of the (more fun) games to be a part of," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It certainly helps when you win."
Cleveland will play its next 11 games at home after this set in KC.
Taking the mound for the Indians Sunday will be T.J. House. The lefty did not factor in the outcome of an 8-6 win against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday and was reached for five runs in 4 2/3 innings.
House is 1-3 in nine road starts and won his only career start against the Royals on July 5, when he tossed 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs in a 7-3 victory at Progressive Field.