Royals starter James Shields gave six strong innings and Salvador Perez led the offense as the club pulled away for a 7-1 victory in the opener of a must sweep, three-game series with the Cleveland Indians.

Shields struck out a season-high 10 for the Royals (79-71), who moved within 2.5 games of the AL’s second wild-card berth. The Indians (81-69) remained a half-game back of Texas, which lost to Tampa Bay earlier in the night in a matchup of teams leading the wild-card race.

Shields gave up a solo homer to Lonnie Chisenhall, as Wade Davis, Luke Hochevar and Tim Collins kept the Indians at bay.

Perez finished with three hits and was among six different players to drive in a run for the Royals.