Corey Kluber’s strong outing knocks Royals from AL Central race

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Starter Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field on September 21, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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CLEVELAND — Corey Kluber allowed two runs and struck out nine in 6 1/3 innings, and the Cleveland Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals 4-3 on Wednesday night, eliminating the reigning World Series champions from the AL Central race.

The Indians, who led Detroit by seven games in the division going into Wednesday, reduced their magic number for clinching the Central to five.

Carlos Santana was 4 for 5 with an RBI single in the eighth. Jose Ramirez drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth with his third double of the game.

Kluber (18-9) matched his career high in wins and is 10-1 in his last 14 starts, strengthening his case to win his second AL Cy Young Award in three years.

Cody Allen allowed Salvador Perez’s leadoff homer in the ninth, but recorded his 28th save in 31 opportunities. Catcher Roberto Perez threw out pinch-runner Terrance Gore trying to steal second for the first out and Allen retired the final two batters.

Ian Kennedy (11-10) allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings and lost for the first time since July 25.

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