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Indians notebook: Royals take this round; next week it continues in Kansas City

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CLEVELAND: Having lost this series to the Kansas City Royals two games to one, the Indians now lead the season series 9-7 with three left to play in Kansas City.

Because the Royals are the best club the Tribe plays the rest of the season, the series next week at Kauffman Stadium might go a long way in determining whether the Indians catch the Tampa Bay Rays and win the American League’s second wild-card berth.

“They’re a good team,” manager Terry Francona said of the Royals. “They’re right where we are. And they’re fighting like crazy.”

RABURN MISSED? — Ryan Raburn didn’t start a game against the Royals, who started three right-handers.

His sore Achilles also might be an aggravating factor. However, look for Raburn to be in the lineup in three out of four games against the Chicago White Sox, who will start three lefties, beginning tonight.

OTHER STUFF — During the course of the season, Scott Kazmir’s ERA in the first three innings is 5.21. In the fourth through the sixth innings, his ERA is 3.00. ... Michael Brantley is batting .339 with runners in scoring position and two out and .359 overall with runners in scoring position. ... The Tribe is only one-half game ahead of the Royals in the race for the second wild-card spot. The Rays currently hold that spot.

— Sheldon Ocker


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