KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Carlos Beltran's run-scoring single snapped an eighth-inning tie and Mike Sweeney added a three-run homer Tuesday night as the Kansas City Royals pounded reliever John Rocker in a 5-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Rocker struck out Mark Quinn to start the eighth, but Gregg Zaun singled to left field. Donnie Sadler ran for Zaun and stole second base before Carlos Febles grounded out. Rocker then sailed a 2-2 fastball to the backstop, allowing Sadler to move to third. Rocker walked rookie Angel Berroa and Beltran followed by lining a 3-0 pitch into left field to plate Sadler for a 2-1 lead.
Sweeney fouled off consecutive 1-1 offerings before launching a slider off the plate over the center-field fence for his team-leading 29th homer.
Rocker (3-7) worked just one inning, allowing four runs and three hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Acquired from the Atlanta Braves with the hope of giving the Indians a formidable lefty-righty closer combination, Rocker has been tagged for 12 earned runs in his last 12 1/3 innings.
Cleveland fell 4 ½ games behind the New York Yankees for the second playoff seed, which carries with it a matchup with the Oakland Athletics and home-field advantage in the Division Series.
Roberto Hernandez (5-6) came on with the bases loaded in the eighth and retired Marty Cordova on a groundout to end the inning. The imposing righthander allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth as the Royals improved to 4-4 on their 10-game homestand.