.Attendance Saturday was 19,093 in sunny, unseasonably-warm fall weather. | Forum

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CLEVELAND -- Every fifth day, Indians manager Terry Francona knows hell get innings, maximum effort and nothing but smiles from his No. Cedric Paquette Jersey . 1 starter. And he usually gets something more important from Justin Masterson -- a win. "Theres an expectation," Francona said. "Hes earned that." Masterson managed to hang around for 6 1-3 innings and win for the sixth time at home, leading Cleveland to a 6-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night. Masterson (9-5) sidestepped trouble in the first few innings without giving up any runs and improved to 6-1 with a 2.29 ERA in nine starts at Progressive Field. The affable right-hander struck out eight while allowing two runs and nine hits. Only Detroits Max Scherzer has more wins in the AL than Masterson, who has been one of the few constants on a streaky Indians squad. "On the day he pitches, we feel pretty good," said Francona, who managed Masterson in Boston. "Hes earned that, for us to feel that way. His consistency with his stuff this year has been tremendous and we always know about his willingness to compete. Its fun to watch. "Ive got to try not to get caught up in how fond I am of him when hes pitching because when he comes off Im always smiling at him. Its hard not to." Michael Brantley hit a pair of solo homers and drove in three runs for the up-and-down Indians, who moved within 3 1/2 games of first-place Detroit in the AL Central. Mike Aviles drove in two runs and Michael Bourn scored twice for Cleveland, which has won six of eight after dropping eight in a row. Unable to get a hit for four innings off Luis Mendoza (2-4), Brantley homered in the fifth and the Indians added three runs in the sixth. Brantley connected again in the eighth. The Royals won the series opener, but dropped the final two and made some critical mistakes that cost them. "We feel we gave one away last night," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "Tonight was a different story. They just beat us." Masterson, as close to an ace as the Indians have in their rotation, is 5-0 in his last six starts at home and has won nine of his past 13 decisions in Cleveland. "Its nice," he said. "Its probably because I get to hang out with my wife and daughter before the game. It just seems to work out. I dont know what the science is behind it. My bad games have all come on the road." It wasnt a certainty he would survive the first few innings as the Royals put two runners on in the first and second but failed to score. Kansas City stranded eight runners in the first five innings and Masterson got a big defensive play by first baseman Mark Reynolds to get out of a pickle in the fourth. Masterson was lifted in the seventh, and although he was far from dominant, Indians fans gave him a warm ovation as he headed to the dugout. "Masterson is our ace, no question about it," Brantley said. "When our ace throws, weve got to win those games. He threw great tonight and kept us in the ballgame and thats all you can ask." The Indians, who have struggled to score lately, didnt get their first hit off Mendoza until the fifth and then chased the right-hander during their three-run sixth. With two on and none out, Aviles hit a ball to deep left that probably should have been caught by Alex Gordon, but the two-time Gold Glove winner dropped it, allowing Drew Stubbs to score and tie it at 2. "Its a ball that needs to be caught, especially in that situation," Gordon said. "It was towards the wall but it was off my glove and I should have caught it. No question. It would have been a big out and could have changed the inning around." Jason Kipnis followed with a well-timed bunt single to load the bases and Mendoza threw four straight balls to Carlos Santana, forcing in Bourn with the go-ahead run. Tim Collins then came in and allowed Brantleys sacrifice fly that made it 4-2, but after giving up a single, he kept the Royals within two by striking out pinch hitter Ryan Raburn and getting Lonnie Chisenhall on a groundout. However, the Indians tacked on an insurance run in the seventh when Bourn doubled, stole third and scored on Aviles fly ball to right. Cleveland also got solid relief work from Bryan Shaw, who pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings. Mendoza, who had just one win in his previous six starts, coasted through the first four innings, allowing only a two-out walk in the first. He was handling the Indians with ease and appeared in complete control. The right-hander didnt make a mistake until Brantley turned on his fastball leading off the fifth, lining a shot into the right-field seats to trim Kansas Citys lead to 2-1. "The first five innings were about as good as you can get," Yost said. "He just kind of fell apart in the sixth after Stubbs got the hit." NOTES: Francona said 1B Nick Swisher (shoulder) will hit off a tee on Thursday, take batting practice Friday and will play Saturday as long as hes pain free. ... Indians closer Chris Perez will not be activated from the disabled list on Friday as originally planned. Perez struggled with his mechanics during a rough, one-inning outing -- five runs, three homers -- at Double-A Akron on Tuesday and the club wants him to throw a bullpen session before deciding the next move. Francona said Perez probably will make another rehab appearance. ... The Royals are in a stretch of playing 13 of 15 games within the AL Central. Steven Stamkos Jersey . JOHNS, N. Alexander Volkov Jersey . Blackwood, 28, has played the last three seasons in the San Diego Padres system, including the past two summers with Class AA San Antonio of the Texas League. http:///...aj-lightning-jersey/ . Oyama had six birdies and two bogeys at Kintetsu Kashikojima in the event also sanctioned by the Japan LPGA Tour. "I have been having this neck ache thats been affecting my golf recently," Oyama said. LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Give Noble Bird his way, and he runs away from his rivals. That was abundantly clear in Saturdays Grade 2, $200,000 Fayette Stakes at Keeneland when Noble Bird controlled the pace and dominated in track-record time on the fall meets closing day.Allowed to run freely under Julien Leparoux , who notched 11th riding title this fall at Keeneland, Noble Bird sprang to the lead while setting a quick pace, and maintained a commanding advantage throughout in beating Divining Rod by 5-3/4 lengths. He completed 1-1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:47.75, lowering Race Days mark of 1:47.90 that was established last fall.His Fayette performance was reminiscent of his victory in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special in May, a race which he also controlled from start to finish.When this horse is on A game and everything goes good for him hes a very good horse for sure, Leparoux said.Noble Bird gave trainer Mark Casse his fourth stakes win of the fall meet, placing him in a tie with Ben Jones, D. Wayne Lukas, Todd Pletcher, and Graham Motion for the most stakes wins by a trainer during a meet at Keeneland. Casse also won the fall training title, his thirdd at the track. Nikita Kucherov Jersey. A 5-year-old son of Summer Bird, Noble Bird ($4) became a millionaire with the $120,000 winners share of the Fayette purse. His earnings stand at $1,064,945 for owner John Oxley.2015 Lexington winner Divining Rod -- who stalked Noble Bird in third early as the pacesetter carved out splits of 23.53 seconds, 46.70, and 1:10.53 -- launched a bid after the leader coming into the stretch but couldnt sustain it late. He finished 4-1/2 lengths in front of third-place Hawaakom.The next intended start for Noble Bird is the Grade 1 Clark Handicap on Nov. 25 at Churchill Downs, where he recorded a Grade 1 victory in the Stephen Foster Handicap in June 2015.I think were figuring him out a little bit, said assistant Norm Casse, Marks son. I think hes a horse that if there is a lot of speed in the race hes a little bit more compromised. We got to pick out races where he can dictate things on his own end. 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