The opportunity was there on Monday for the Indians to take sole possession of the second American League Wild Card spot after the Rangers lost their seventh straight game, but 17 strikeouts from Royals pitchers kept the Tribe a half-game back.
James Shields notched 10 of those punch outs, helping the Royals defeat the Indians, 7-1, to pull within 2½ games of the Rangers in the playoff chase.
One of the players Shields was traded for in the offseason played a big part in another contest bearing major playoff implications.
Rays outfielder Wil Myers homered and drove in three runs to lift his team to a 6-2 win over Texas. The Rays gained possession of the AL's top Wild Card spot while the Rangers stumbled to their 10th loss in 11 games. Texas' starting pitching has been particularly bad in that stretch, going 0-10 with a 6.55 ERA.
The Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees were off on Monday, but each gained a half-game on the Rangers in the standings: