It wasn't a game where you expected the Royals to win in the first place, but couldn't they have at least done it in an easy-to-swallow manner?
Nope, of course not.
The Indians built a big early lead before weathering a Royals comeback attempt, holding on to even the series with a 7-3 win on Tuesday night. It seems like every Kansas City loss in recent weeks has been maddening, but this one, for some reason, was particularly frustrating.
Brian Flynn, making his first MLB start in two years, was greeted by a moonshot two-run bomb from Mike Napoli in the first inning. He faced the minimum in the third, but Cleveland loaded the bases with nobody out in the third, and Francisco Lindor hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-0. The third Indian run ended Flynn's outing after 2.1+ innings. He allowed five baserunners while recording just seven outs. It wasn't what Ned Yost was looking for when he tabbed Flynn with the start over Dillon Gee.
Instead, Gee was called upon for relief, and he would work through the next 5.1 innings, giving up three more runs early in his outing. He was able to clean up Flynn's mess in the third, but the Indians scratched three more runs across in the fifth inning on RBI hits by Carlos Santana and Juan Uribe. Through five innings, the Royals were in a 6-0 hole, and the offense had mustered just four singles against All Star pitcher Danny Salazar.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Royals began to make a comeback. Eric Hosmer, Kendrys Morales, and Salvador Perez strung together three straight singles to make the score 6-1. Morales later scored the second run on a wild pitch, and after six innings, Kansas City was finally beginning to hit Salazar harder.
The Royals opened the seventh with more noise. Whit Merrifield walked. Jarrod Dyson singled. Both moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch. Alcides Escobar then stepped up, and Salazar fell behind in the count 3-1. With the tying run just one ball away from stepping into the batter's box, Escobar opted to ignore the obvious, instead swinging away at a pitch that was way up out of the zone. He popped up what would have been ball four to first base, ending one of the most horrific at bats I've ever witnessed as a Royals fan.
Alcides Escobar, who had easily the lowest OBP among the nine Royals in tonight's lineup, should not be batting first. He failed to get a baseball out of the infield on Tuesday night, grounding out twice, striking out once, and popping out to first.
Kansas City did score a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Cheslor Cuthbert, but an inning that began with such promise ended with the Royals facing a three-run deficit.
Salazar earned the win, but his late-inning struggles made his final line look worse than it should have been. He gave up eight hits in 6.2 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out seven. With the win, he improved to 11-3.
Gee was able to keep the Royals in the game, but it was Flynn that ultimately took the loss. He is 1-1. Chien Ming Wang got the last four outs of the game for Kansas City, but not before he gave up a home run to Lindor.
Cleveland's Cody Allen pitched the ninth.
The Indians moved back to an eight-game lead over the third-place Royals. Kansas City is 47-46.
Tomorrow, Ian Kennedy and Carlos Carrasco will duel for the right to win the series for their team. Hopefully, the Royals are batting literally anybody other than Alcides Escobar first.