CLEVELAND -- For the Cleveland Indians, one player provided almost all of the offense and another most of the defense Wednesday.
Francisco Lindor had three hits, including a home run, and four RBIs, and Danny Salazar pitched seven strong innings as the Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 5-1 Wednesday night at Progressive Field.
Lindor, Cleveland's 21-year-old rookie shortstop, hit a solo home run, his ninth of the season, in the first inning. He added a two-run single in the second inning and an RBI single in the fourth.
"The level he's playing at and the consistency he has shown is really exciting," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "It's fun to watch him get better."
Salazar (13-8) pitched scoreless ball before giving up a solo home run to third baseman Mike Moustakas leading off the seventh. That was the only run allowed by the right-hander, who threw 102 pitches and gave up four hits while striking out six and walking two.
"He pitched really well," Francona said. "I don't know that he had his best velocity, but he really pitched. He used his off-speed stuff, and then when he needed his fastball, he had it."
Aside from Moustakas' home run, the Royals threatened to score in only one inning against Salazar. In the third, Kansas City had runners at second and third with two outs, but Salazar retired center fielder Lorenzo Cain on a grounder to end the inning. Salazar retired 13 of the last 16 batters he faced.
"I was able to use my fastball in and out, and then mixed in my changeup," he said. "The key was to keep the ball down."
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy (7-8) retired only seven batters before being replaced with one out in the third inning, trailing 4-0.
Kansas City lost for the eighth time in 11 games.
"My level of concern is the way we've played the last two weeks," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We're not swinging the bats, but we know that will come back. Our starting pitching hasn't been good, but we know that will come back. But when you're not swinging the bats well, you need to pitch. Right now, we're not doing either."
Cleveland is 7-3 in its past 10, and the young shortstop is a big reason why.
Lindor gave the Indians a 1-0 lead when he homered off Duffy in the first inning.
The Indians scored three more runs in the second, and Lindor was in the middle of that rally.
With two outs and nobody on, center fielder Abraham Almonte singled and went to second when third baseman Mike Aviles drew a walk. Almonte scored on a single by Kipnis to make it 2-0. Lindor followed with a single, scoring Aviles and Kipnis.
In the fourth, Aviles walked, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kipnis and scored on Lindor's third hit of the game, a single to center field that gave the Indians a 5-0 lead.
Asked about his big night, Lindor said, "We won the game. That's the biggest thing. It's good to be a part of it and to contribute to it."
Lindor, who was recalled from Triple-A Columbus on June 14, is hitting .317 overall. In 14 games during September, he is batting .365 with three triples, two home runs and 10 RBIs.
"The stats are nice, but what matters most is winning," he said.
Duffy lasted 2 1/3 innings, giving up four runs and six hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
"He fought his command, and that's because he can't duplicate his mechanics," Yost said. "He was all over the place."
NOTES: Indians RHP Corey Kluber is over his strained hamstring and will make his first start Thursday night since Aug. 29. Asked if Kluber will be on a pitch count, Indians manager Terry Francona joked, "Yeah, 140-150." ... Kansas City pitchers combined for eight shutouts this season, but only one was a complete-game shutout by a single pitcher: RHP Johnny Cueto vs. Detroit on Aug. 10. ... Entering Wednesday's game, the Royals' magic number was nine for clinching their first American League Central title.