KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Shane Bieber pitched eight sharp innings, José Ramírez drove in two runs and the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians beat the Kansas City Royals 4-1 Tuesday night.
Bieber (9-8) allowed one run and four hits. He struck out seven and walked one.
“I didn’t think (Bieber) had his best curveball,” manager Terry Francona said. “But with his fastball and his cutter, he really was effective. Some of the balls they squared up were in the middle of the park, and this is a big park. So that helps, too.”
In his last eight starts, Bieber has 1.79 ERA (11 runs in 55 1/3 innings). He is now 5-0 in his career against the Royals.
Bieber said going out for the ninth was never up for discussion.
“You always want more,” he said, “but it was an easy decision.”
He was satisfied with his outing.
“I threw a lot of cutters,” he said. “The curveball got a little better as the game went along. I was still able to get a little swing and miss. I just tried to primarily land it for strikes.”
The Guardians moved 1 1/2 games of Minnesota, which was rained out and will play a doubleheader Wednesday at the New York Yankees.
The Royals lost their 82nd game, meaning they’ll have a losing record for the sixth straight season.
Salvador Perez hit his 20th home run for Kansas City, the sixth year he’s reached the mark. He is tied with Mike Sweeney on the team list for the second-most seasons with at least 20 — George Brett holds the franchise record with eight.
“He hit a fastball about six inches off the plate,” Bieber said. “He’s got to be the strongest man alive.”
James Karinchak pitched the ninth for his first save.
Kris Bubic (2-11) allowed three runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Ramírez hit a bases-loaded, two-run single in the third for a 2-0 lead. He has 108 RBIs this season.
Myles Straw’s RBI single in the seventh extended the Guardians’ lead. Cleveland added another run on a single by Owen Miller in the eighth.
“My stats stink,” Straw said, batting .202 after getting two hits. “But we’re playing great as a team. That’s what really matters. We’re here as a team and we’re trying to get to the playoffs and win a championship. It’s little things to help your team win.”
Royals: RHP Zack Greinke, on the injured list with right forearm tightness, will start Wednesday’s series finale. … 1B/DH Vinnie Pasquantino is nearing the end of his rehab assignment in Triple-A Omaha. “We’re hearing good things,” manager Mike Matheny said before the game. “He wants to be back here and we want him back here. We’re trying to make sure everything’s good.”
The Guardians and Royals will complete their three-game series Wednesday night. Cleveland RHP Cody Morris (0-1, 9.00 ERA) will make his second major league start and face Greinke (4-8, 4.14).
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.