Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City
By ASSOCIATED PRESS  |  Last updated 9/8/13
Wild card fever is beginning to descend upon Cleveland.Two of the contenders for the AL's second wild-card spot meet Monday night as the Cleveland Indians open a critical three-game series with the Kansas City Royals.Kansas City (75-68) moved within 1 12 games of Cleveland and 3 12 behind Tampa Bay for the final postseason position with a 5-2 victory over Detroit Sunday, its 11th win in 14 tries. Eric Hosmer backed Bruce Chen's strong start with three hits, including a three-run homer.The Royals, who opened their series with the Tigers with a 16-2 loss, came back to win the final two."After that game, it was a bad feeling," said Hosmer, who is 15 for his last 36 (.417). "They just flat out beat us that day. Just to forget it as a team and bounce back like that shows a lot about the character on the team and pitching staff."Cleveland (76-66) saw its four-game winning streak snapped by the New York Mets Sunday, 2-1, and fell two games behind the Rays."We took two of three in this series, you have to look at it that way," reliever Joe Smith said. "We come back on the horse tomorrow. We need to take care of business when they come in."The fever has yet to take over the fan base, however, as only 13,317 fans came out to Sunday's game at Progressive Field."Of course we notice," Ubaldo Jimenez said Tuesday after pitching Cleveland to a 4-3 win over Baltimore. "It's definitely not the same when we have a big crowd, but what can we do? We have to go out there and compete."Jimenez (10-9, 3.79 ERA) is as responsible as anyone for Cleveland's current run into contention. He launched the Indians' four-game winning streak with one of his best starts of the season Tuesday, scattering four hits over six scoreless innings in that 4-3 victory."He goes out there and gives us six shutout innings against that lineup," manager Terry Francona said. "That's exciting."Jimenez is 3-5 with a 2.22 ERA over his last eight starts and has allowed one home run over his last 43 23 innings.The Royals were batting .131 off Jimenez through three starts this season, but they got to him for four runs and eight hits in four innings July 14 before the Indians rallied for a 6-4 win.Hosmer is 6 for 19 (.316) off Jimenez with two home runs, but Alex Gordon (4 for 20) and Alcides Escobar (3 for 21) have been less successful.Kansas City gives the ball to Ervin Santana (8-8, 3.33), who struggled in his last start but has been outstanding lately against the Indians.The right-hander lasted a season-low 3 13 innings against Seattle on Wednesday, allowing four runs, seven hits and three walks while failing to record a strikeout for the first time all season."I didn't have my best stuff," Santana said. "I'll get them next time. I didn't pitch the way I've pitched this year. I didn't have my fastball. My location was off after the second inning."His control has been an issue lately, as Santana has averaged 3.26 walks per nine innings since the beginning of August after averaging 1.92 through his first 21 starts.Santana is 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA in his last three starts against Cleveland, yielding one run and nine hits over 14 innings in two this year.He's been especially tough on Nick Swisher (9 for 41), Asdrubal Cabrera (6 for 31) and Mike Aviles (1 for 13).Cleveland has won five straight at home against Kansas City, posting a 2.40 ERA in those games.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Joe Mixon drafted by Bengals; fans boo pick

Vikings land Adrian Peterson’s replacement, trade up for Dalvin Cook

WATCH: Kris Bryant launches moonshot completely out of Fenway Park

Kevin King, alone in green room, taken first in Round 2 by Packers

Felix Hernandez, Mitch Haniger expected to miss 3-4 weeks for Mariners

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

CFL fines head coach for meeting with Johnny Manziel rep

Reuben Foster hung up on Saints when 49ers called him

Packers ‘taking calls’ for No. 33 pick in draft

Bears confirm that Mike Glennon is their starter for the 2017 season

Report: Jets making calls trying to trade Sheldon Richardson

Broncos players take to Twitter to call for team to sign Gary Barnidge

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

Box Score 4/28: NFL Draft gets younger every year

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker