CLEVELAND (AP) Carlos Carrasco's first pitch couldn't have gone any worse, but he quickly took control Monday night.
Carrasco overcame Alex Gordon's home run to throw six strong innings, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 8-3.
Lonnie Chisenhall drove in three runs for the Indians, who trail Texas by 4 1/2 games for the AL's second wild-card spot. Cleveland, which has won 13 of 18, also got back to the .500 mark (71-71).
Carrasco (13-10) had a simple strategy after Gordon's drive landed deep in the seats in right field, the only run he allowed:
''Right away, I was thinking those guys were going to be aggressive,'' he said. ''It made me feel more aggressive, so I went after them harder.''
''The first pitch of the game, you're already like, `Here we go,''' manager Terry Francona said. ''But once he established and got into the game, and fortunately did it right after that, he started throwing one of the better breaking balls he's had.''
The right-hander struck out nine in his second start since coming off the disabled list with a sore right shoulder.
Carrasco got some quick help when Jason Kipnis led off the Indians' first with a home run.
''It's always better to play with the game tied,'' Francona said. ''Three hours later, it may not make that big a difference. It's just a better feeling.''
Giovanny Urshela hit a solo homer in the fourth for Cleveland.
Edinson Volquez (13-8) allowed four runs in five innings for Kansas City, which has lost eight of 10, while Gordon was 4 for 5.
''I thought he was OK,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said of Volquez. ''Tonight was just one of those nights. He couldn't keep it going.''
Carrasco ran into trouble after striking out Alcides Escobar and Gordon in the sixth. Ben Zobrist walked, Lorenzo Cain singled and Eric Hosmer walked to load the bases.
Rookie shortstop Francisco Lindor backhanded Kendrys Morales' sharp ground ball and threw to first, ending the inning.
''For the last few hitters I was feeling a little tired,'' Carrasco said. ''I was glad we got the ground ball.''
Run-scoring infield hits by Gordon and Ben Zobrist with two out in the seventh cut the lead to 4-3, but Bryan Shaw retired Lorenzo Cain on a fly ball to center.
Chisenhall's RBI double gave Cleveland a 2-1 lead in the third. He added a sacrifice fly in the fifth and an RBI single in the seventh. Yan Gomes added a two-run double in the seventh, and Lindor had an RBI triple in the eighth.
ANOTHER FAN HIT
The game was delayed briefly in the seventh inning when a woman seated several rows behind the Indians' dugout on the third-base side was struck by a ball hit by Lindor. Medical personnel and ushers quickly tended to the woman, who walked under her own power to a first aid station in the ballpark, where she received medical treatment. Several fans have been struck by baseballs and bats around the majors this season.
Ray Mabus, the United States Secretary of the Navy, threw out the first pitch, completing the feat of doing so at all 30 ballparks in the majors.
Royals: RHP Louis Coleman is listed as day to day after the back of his shoulder tightened up Sunday at Baltimore.
Indians: Francona said RHP Corey Kluber (strained right hamstring) will probably pitch Thursday against Kansas City. The reigning AL Cy Young winner threw a bullpen session Monday and will do fielding drills Tuesday. Kluber hasn't pitched since Aug. 29.
Royals: RHP Kris Medlen owns an 8-2 record and 2.21 ERA in 23 career appearances in the month of September.
Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin seeks to extend his five-game winning streak. He is 5-1 with a 2.85 ERA on the season.