CLEVELAND (AP) Corey Kluber says the goal each time he takes the mound is to give the Cleveland Indians a chance to win, rather than getting the W himself.
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner is doing pretty well in both departments.
Kluber became the first 18-game winner in the majors this season, striking out 10 and pitching the Indians past the Kansas City Royals 3-1 Wednesday.
I dont pay attention to it, he said. Theres going to be times things are out of your control. You might pitch fairly well and the guy on the other side pitches lights out.
More so than actually getting the win, its giving our team a chance to win. Thats what I base things on, he said.
The Indians moved closer to a third straight AL Central title, and their magic number for clinching the division was reduced to eight when Minnesota lost at Houston.
Kluber (18-7) is a major reason the Indians will be playing again in October. He allowed one run and two hits in 6 2/3 innings. He was pulled after throwing 105 pitches.
Kluber has won six of his last seven decisions and is a leading candidate to be chosen the leagues best pitcher for the third time in five seasons. Luis Severino of the Yankees was set to start Wednesday night at Oakland.
The last couple times out, seemed like he started to get the feel back. Thats fun to watch, Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Royals manager Ned Yost watched Kluber retire the first 10 hitters before Kansas City got its only two hits of the game.
Alex Gordon lined a double on a 3-2 pitch in the fourth. Hunter Dozier struck out, but rookie Ryan OHearns long drive was over center fielder Greg Allens head and fell for an RBI triple.
The right-hander struck out Jorge Bonifacio to get out of the brief jam and retired nine of the last 10 hitters he faced.
Brad Hand struck out the side in the ninth for his eighth save since being acquired from San Diego and 32nd this season.
The game began in sweltering conditions with the temperature at 91 degrees for the first pitch.
Brad Keller (7-6) allowed three runs one earned in seven-plus innings and lost for the first time since Aug. 7.
I felt like my fastball was pretty good and I hydrated myself all last night, so once the adrenaline kicked in when I got out there, I felt pretty good the whole time, he said.
Edwin Encarnacions RBI grounder broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth. Allens RBI single in the second gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead before Kansas City tied it.
Michael Brantleys one-out single started the go-ahead rally. Shortstop Alcides Escobar couldnt handle Yandy Diazs chopper and Brantley took third when the ball rolled into the outfield on the error. Encarnacions grounder put Cleveland ahead.
Jason Kipnis had a sacrifice fly and two hits.
Cody Allen, the Indians closer until Hand was acquired, struck out two and retired all three hitters in the eighth. Oliver Perez struck out the only batter he faced and Clevelands pitchers combined to fan 16.
Royals right fielder Brett Phillips was out of the lineup after running full-speed into the wall chasing Jose Ramirezs fly ball Tuesday. He was diagnosed with a bruised right shoulder.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (sore shoulder) will not pitch again this season after leaving his Tuesday start in the first inning. Duffy was on the disabled list from Aug. 13-23 with a similar injury and recently received an anti-inflammatory shot.
The doctors said he cant have another shot for a while, so it makes sense just to shut him down, manager Ned Yost said.