CLEVELAND: The Indians lost a game in the standings to the Rays, who currently hold the second wild-card berth in the American League, yet the Tribe only trails by two games.
“Everybody knows where we’re at,” Joe Smith said. “We’re not naïve. We’ve got Kansas City coming in here, so we’ll be able to stay at home. There’s still a lot of fight in this team.”
The Yankees and Orioles are tied with the Indians, and the Royals are 1½ games back.
PACKING HIS BAGS — Justin Masterson (strained oblique) will accompany the Tribe on its trip to Chicago and Kansas City, but he isn’t expected to do any serious throwing.
“He’s just been doing stuff in the pool,” Francona said. “He’ll go on the trip and pick up a ball. Right now, he’s mostly in the water.”
SOCIAL NOTE — Michael Brantley’s wife, Melissa, gave birth to their daughter Saturday night, and Brantley is expected to be back from West Palm Beach, Fla., for tonight’s game against the Royals.
PAYING TRIBUTE — The Browns got their due in the Tribe clubhouse from Joe Smith, who wore tackle Joe Thomas’ jersey before the game.
“Aren’t you supposed to be a Bengals fan?” someone asked Smith, who grew up in Cincinnati.
“I don’t root for the Bengals,” he said. “I like certain players.”
Thomas, with whom Smith is acquainted, is one of them.
OTHER STUFF — The Indians completed interleague play with an 11-9 record. … In his past three outings, Chris Perez has allowed four runs and five hits in three innings. … Jason Giambi is one of 276 players in history to accumulate 2,000 hits, and he is one of 18 active players to do so.
— Sheldon Ocker