CLEVELAND -- The Kansas City Royals moved closer to their first playoff appearance since 1985 with another well-pitched game in a 7-1 thrashing of the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Tuesday.
Right-hander Yordano Ventura pitched seven scoreless innings and Kansas City collected six doubles from six hitters as the Royals (86-71) rolled to their third win in a row.
The right-handed Ventura (14-10) held Cleveland to four hits, striking out six and walking four.
In their last two games, the Royals have outscored Cleveland 9-1 and out-hit the Indians 21-12.
The Indians, who lost 2-0 on Monday, went 21 consecutive innings without scoring a run before snapping the streak in the eighth inning by scoring a run on a double play.
The losing pitcher was right-hander Danny Salazar (6-8), who gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings.
The Royals remain one game behind the Central Division-leading Detroit Tigers, who beat Chicago. However, the Royals did extend their lead to three games over Seattle, their closest pursuer for the second wild-card spot.
"We went out and took care of our business," first baseman Eric Hosmer said of the Royals, who will play Cleveland again on Wednesday and then conclude the season with four games in Chicago against the White Sox.
The loss nearly eliminates the Indians (82-76) from the wild-card race. They are 4 1/2 games behind the Royals for the second wild-card spot. Cleveland has four games remaining and Kansas City five.
"All we can do is play tomorrow, try to win and go from there," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.
Kansas City scored its first five runs against Salazar, who struck out six of the first eight hitters he faced but then gave up five doubles in the next three innings as the Royals took a commanding 5-0 lead after five innings.
"It was almost like two different pitchers," Francona said. "Out of the chute he had a good fastball and worked ahead in the count. But then he started leaving balls up and his fastball was leaking over the plate. It was like somebody hit a switch."
Salazar overpowered Kansas City hitters in the first two innings. However, in his second trip through the Kansas City lineup, hitters started to figure him out.
In the top of the fourth inning, Kansas City took a 2-0 lead. Butler led off the inning by drawing a walk, and Gordon's single to right field moved Butler to second. Catcher Salvador Perez struck out, but second baseman Omar Infante lined a double into the left-field corner, scoring Butler and Gordon and giving the Royals a 2-0 lead.
Kansas City knocked Salazar out of the game with a three-run fifth-inning rally that began with two outs and nobody on base. Hosmer doubled and scored on a double by Butler. Gordon walked and Perez followed with the third double of the inning and the Royals' fifth double of the game, driving in Butler and Gordon as the Royals extended their lead to 5-0.
That was plenty for Ventura, who held Cleveland scoreless on two hits through six innings before giving up two singles in the seventh.
"He's a special guy. He has all the makings of being a high-level, upper-tier pitcher in the American League," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
"He has some of the best arm speed you'll ever see," Francona said. "We made him work, but we had nothing to show for it."
In 4 2/3 innings, Salazar threw 91 pitches and gave up five runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts and three walks.
"After the second inning, I lost my control and got a little wild," Salazar said. "Then, when I came in with some pitches, they hit them."
The Royals padded their lead with two runs in the seventh inning. Hosmer led off with a single against left-hander Nick Hagadone. Right-hander Scott Atchison relieved Hagadone, and designated hitter Billy Butler greeted Atchison with a single, moving Hosmer to third.
Left fielder Alex Gordon followed with a double to right field, scoring Hosmer and Butler to make it 7-0.