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Aoki, Royals pull within game of rival Tigers

Kyodo, AP

Norichika Aoki got the Kansas City Royals off to a good start on Monday when he scored the first run in a 2-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians that moved the Royals to within a game of the American League Central lead.

Kansas City began the day with a loss when they completed a game suspended on Aug. 31 at home that resulted in a 4-3, 10-inning defeat. Former Hanshin Tigers reliever Scott Atchison entered in the bottom of the 10th and earned a save despite surrendering an RBI single to Aoki.

In the nightcap, Aoki got the Royals started with a one-out single in the top of the first, stole his 17th base of the season and scored on an Eric Hosmer single. Aoki went 1-for-3, but the Royals added a run in the fifth on an Alcides Escobar RBI single.

“I hit a mistake that I wasn’t going to let go by,” said Aoki, who was 2-for-5 in the suspended game.

“There’s no real game difference between us, so we intend to win every game.

“What’s important is just to focus on the play in front of you without thinking about what’s coming after.”

Royals lefty Danny Duffy (9-11) scattered six hits and two walks over six innings to earn the victory as three Kansas City relievers shut the Indians down on one hit and one walk over the final three innings.

The split allowed the Royals to shave a half-game off the Detroit’s lead in the AL Central.

Athletics 8, Angels 4

In Oakland, Jeff Samardzija pitched seven strong innings and received some rare run support as the A’s kept hold of the top AL wild-card spot by beating the West champions.

Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer in the eighth for Los Angeles, giving him 1,602 RBIs for 33rd on the career list.

Yankees 5, Orioles 0

In New York, Derek Jeter began his final series at Yankee Stadium by breaking open the game with a two-run double, and he had three RBIs to lead the Yankees over the Orioles.

New York’s Ichiro Suzuki was 1-for-3 with a run scored.

Blue Jays 14, Mariners 4

In Toronto, Jose Bautista homered and reached base four times, J.A. Happ won for the first time in four starts and the Blue Jays dealt a blow to Seattle’s wild card hopes, routing the Mariners.

White Sox 2, Tigers 0

In Detroit, Chris Bassitt pitched into the eighth inning for his first major league win, and Chicago slowed the Tigers’ chase of the AL Central title.

Rangers 4, Astros 3

In Arlington, Texas, Guilder Rodriguez had his first two major league hits, including a tiebreaking RBI single, as the Rangers opened their final homestand with a win over Houston.

INTERLEAGUE

Diamondbacks 6, Twins 2

In Minneapolis, Josh Collmenter pitched six strong innings for his career-best 11th win, Mark Trumbo homered and Arizona defeated the Twins to snap a six-game losing streak.