In what seems like the 37th game to go into extra innings this season, the Royals found themselves in a sloppy game light on offense but heavy on pseudo-drama with the real game being ultimately decided by who wanted the win less.
While we all dreaded a typically awful start from Hiram Kyle Davies, he actually pitched fairly well over six laborious innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and no walks. That's correct. Zero walks. To compliment this rare feat, he struck out a season-high seven Indians on the way to a no-decision.
His counterpart, Carlos Carrasco, kept the Royals' bats in check through the first five innings before yielding a second and third run on a string of four hits to Mike Aviles, Melky Cabrera, Alex Gordon, and Billy Butler.
Jeffress was not as fortunate insofar as walks were concerned on his way to relinquishing the lead. To be fair, he was residing low in the strike zone and not getting calls that appeared to have been strikes on GameDay, but the lead was ceded nonetheless, leaving with the game knotted at three apiece.
Crow came in and got the Royals out of a jam, striking out Shin-Soo Choo looking and inducing a weak pop fly to shallow center from the bat of Carlos Santana with base-runners everywhere imaginable. Crow followed his Seventh Inning Bailout with a less smooth eighth but still left the game without having allowed an earned run on the year.
The Royals managed to put together an eighth inning in which they loaded the bases even after a weird blown call at second saw Billy Butler actually called safe at second (despite the fact that he shouldn't have been), leaving the bag, and getting tagged out while off the base. Francoeur drew a walk that we will all tell our grandchildren about, but a run was not in the cards.
Joakim Soria looked slightly more like the Soria of Yore, rearing back and putting a 93 MPH fastball by Choo before inducing a double-play grounder to Mike Aviles.
After the Royals failed to do, well, anything in the bottom of the ninth, Tim Collins came in a gave the Indians the lead by the second batter he faced with Shelley Duncan driving in Carlos Santana on double into the left field corner that ended up bouncing back past Alex Gordon on the carom. Then the defense decided to take a vacation, gifting the Indians with three additional runs that could have been avoided.
In true Royals form, Alcides Escobar one-hopped a ball to first on the back end of a should-have-been double play that Kila Ka'aihue was unable to scoop out of the dirt. It probably should have been caught, but it also probably should not have been in the dirt, and pinch-runner Adam Everett came around to score. On the next play, Jack Hannahan hit a deep fly ball to center field that a center fielder (read: Jarrod Dyson) probably would have caught but got by Melky Cabrera plating Matt LaPorta. Grady Sizemore then hit a grounder that hit the bag at second and bounced erratically back over the head of Escobar, scoring Hannahan.
When all was said and done, the Royals entered the bottom of the tenth down four runs and that proved to be too much for the Royals.
They now must look into their hearts to gather the courage to rise up from this defeat and take back the AL Central on their home turf.