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Zach Plesac pitches Indians into first place with win over Royals

Cleveland Indians pitcher Zach Plesac is now 3-1 on the season with a 1.32 ERA after a dominant performance against the Kansas City Royals Monday in Cleveland. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI
Cleveland Indians pitcher Zach Plesac is now 3-1 on the season with a 1.32 ERA after a dominant performance against the Kansas City Royals Monday in Cleveland. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Zach Plesac allowed seven hits and one run in seven innings to lead the Cleveland Indians to a win over the Kansas City Royals and into a tie for first place in the American League Central.

Plesac also had four strikeouts and did not issue a walk in the 5-2 victory Monday at Progressive Field in Cleveland. He is now 3-1 with a 1.32 ERA in 2020.

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"I'm locked in," Plesac told Fox Sports Ohio after the victory. "We are all locked in. There aren't many games left. All we can do is focus on these next couple weeks and get ready for some big games."

Tyler Naquin had an 0 for 3 night, but had two RBIs in the win. Francisco Lindor and Franmil Reyes each went 2 for 3 and scored a run for the Indians.

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The Indians (26-15) are now tied with the Chicago White Sox for first place in their division, with a one-game lead over the third-place Minnesota Twins. The Indians have won six of their last seven games.

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The Royals are in last place in the American League Central and are on a seven-game losing streak.

Plesac's pristine performance began after he allowed a single to Whit Merrifield in the first at-bat of the game. He went on to pitch 6 and 2/3 innings of shutout baseball before Adalberto Mondesi ripped a solo home run to right field. Plesac then forced a groundout and left the game.

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Carlos Santana gave the Indians a 1-0 lead in the second inning when he scored off a fielding error when Naquin reached base on a fielder's choice. Reyes then scored in the next at-bat when Josh Naylor grounded into a force out. Naquin later plated Lindor on an RBI sacrifice fly to push the Indians lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth frame.

Mondesi then smacked his 458-foot homer to right field for the Royals first run in the top of the seventh inning. The Indians responded with two runs in the bottom of the seventh frame. Royals third baseman Maikel Franco plated the game's final run with an RBI single to center field in the top of the eighth inning.

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Adam Cimber, Phil Maton and Brad Hand came out of the Indians bullpen to preserve the lead over the final two innings. Hand earned his 12th save of the season after he struck out the final three Royals hitters in the ninth inning.

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The Indians host the Royals (14-28) at 6:10 p.m. EDT Tuesday at Progressive Field.

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