CLEVELAND – Eric Hosmer pointed at his teammates celebrating wildly in the dugout and continued his trot around the bases.
With one swing, Hosmer gave the Royals another thrilling moment in a season getting better by the second.
Hosmer's homer with two outs in the ninth inning off Trevor Bauer lifted Kansas City to a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night over the fading Cleveland Indians.
The Indians have lost eight in a row at home — their longest home losing streak since 1975.
Hosmer hit a 3-2 curveball from Bauer (8-8) over the wall in right for his 11th homer, a shot that helped push the Royals 23 games over .500 for the first time since 1989.
"It's real exciting," said Hosmer, batting .422 with five homers and 19 RBI against the Indians this season, including a homer and four RBI Monday. "It's the final push for the second half. We're trying to win these ballgames. We realize these games in the division are important, especially one that close late in the game.
Bauer probably deserved a better fate. He held the American League's top team to one run for 8⅔ innings before Hosmer reached down and connected on a curveball clocked at 75 miles per hour.
The Royals seem to have found the winning formula: Keep it close, turn it over to their bullpen and score one more run than the opposition.
"The feeling is if we're tied or with the lead after the fifth inning we stand a great chance of winning with our bullpen," manager Ned Yost said. "For the most part they're going to hold them right there until we can find a way to scratch a run across."