CLEVELAND - Not only did Billy Buckner earn his first major league win Sunday, Kansas City's rookie right-hander helped make the AL Central race a little tighter.
Buckner pitched the Royals to a 4-3 victory over the first-place Cleveland Indians, who had their division lead sliced to 4 1/2 games when Detroit beat Minnesota.
The Indians and Tigers begin a three-game series at Jacobs Field on Monday night.
Making his third career start, Buckner took a shutout into the sixth inning before Victor Martinez hit a solo homer with two outs. The Indians scored twice in the seventh, but solid relief work by Jimmy Gobble and Joakim Soria over the final 2 2-3 innings sealed the win.
“It was fun,” Buckner said. “I got a little nervous at the end.”