A week ago, the Indians were reeling amid serious questions about whether they could contend.
Five wins have put them back on track.
And back on Detroit’s heels.
Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run double to cap Cleveland’s comeback in the sixth inning, and the Indians charged into the All-Star break with a 6-4 win over Kansas City on Sunday and three-game sweep of the Royals.
Cabrera’s double off Tim Collins (2-5) led the roller-coasting Indians to their fourth straight win.
At 51-44, they stayed 11/2 games behind the first-place Tigers in the AL Central. Last week, Detroit took three of four from Cleveland to widen its lead in the division. It seemed the Tigers were poised to run away and hide.
But with their fans fearing a collapse like last year, the Indians pulled together.
“We got the city of Cleveland to step back off the ledge after the Detroit series,” said All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis. “So that’s good. We wanted to push ourselves.
“To be able to sweep them and get a couple days off now, that’s a great way to end it.”
Cleveland has its most wins at the All-Star break since 2007 — the last time the Indians made the playoffs.
Reliever Rich Hill (1-1) got two outs in the sixth, and closer Chris Perez — Cleveland’s fifth reliever — worked the ninth for his 13th save as the Indians improved to 43-1 when leading after eight.
Billy Butler had three hits for the Royals (43-49), who dropped their fifth straight. Kansas City is third in the AL Central, eight games back.
“We’ve had a rough five games,” manager Ned Yost said. “They can go take a break, regroup and hopefully come back and play more consistent baseball.”
The Indians have had their issues with inconsistency, as well, but they have been resilient all season. The series finale was no different as Cleveland trailed 4-3 in the sixth before rallying against Kansas City’s usually reliable bullpen.
Collins, who took the loss in Friday’s series opener, walked Lonnie Chisenhall leading off. Drew Stubbs singled, Michael Bourn sacrificed, and Cabrera, whose name has surfaced in trade rumors, drove a 1-0 pitch into the gap in right-center to put Cleveland back in front.
Kipnis followed with an RBI single off Everett Teaford to give the Indians a 6-4 lead.
“I was real proud of our guys,” manager Terry Francona said. “We kept battling, and because of it we go into the break with a nice win.”
Bryan Shaw and Joe Smith combined for two scoreless innings before Perez.