Mirroring the likely outcome of the season, it was a day when everything came up short for the Royals: The Indians first run is greatly helped by a wild pitch on a called third strike. The next run is plated on a fly ball that a healthy Lorenzo Cain normally catches (pictured). And, of course, Jason Hammel gets one strike away from escaping the decisive inning. In the end, Kansas City falls to Cleveland, in a game much too reminiscent of so many these last couple of months.
Early on, “double” was the theme of the day. In the first inning, each team hit into a double play. The Royals continued this trend in the second but someone did not clarify these new AL rules to Jay Bruce. He doubled off the top of the wall, went to third on the aforementioned wild pitch third strike, and trotted home on a sac fly to score the first run of the game. Alex Gordon, guardian of orthodoxy, could not let this stand. He wasted no time, crushing a 421’ home run to left, tying the game. The Royals put two more on, including a weird Whit Merrifield slide where he got picked off but evaded a tag. Unfortunately, no more runs were plated.
In the bottom of the third, the Indians retook the lead, bunching up some baserunners. Francisco Lindor singled, Austin Jackson walked, Carlos Santana singled (RBI), and Edwin Encarnacion hit a sacrifice fly: 3-1 Indians. The Royals retalliated in the top of the 4th: Melky Cabrera led off with a double, went to third on a wild pitch (favor returned), and scored on a Brandon Moss sacrifice fly.
Indians bats sounded like they were crushing Hammel all day. I mean, audibly, it sounded like everything was getting hit hard.
Lucky That One didn’t leave the park. -philofthenorth
This next one too -Loose Seal
They just sound like they're getting hammered -sterlingice
I keep looking up because it sounds like all these balls are leaving the park -Shaun Newkirk
Unfortunately, those chickens came home to roost in the 6th. Yandy Diaz and Abraham Almonte singled to put runners at first and second. But Yan Gomes couldn't a bunt down and Giovanny Urshela flew out. It looked like Hammel might get out of it. One strike away, on a 1-2 count, Lindor- because of course it had to be Lindor- doubled high off the wall and both runners scored. Austin Jackson followed with a single up the middle. Cain came up firing but Lindor was too fast. Butera threw the ball back to 2nd to get Jackson, but it went into center field. It went past Cain, who was off to one side after the hit, and into center field. Jackson scored the little league home run.
As has often been the case this season, the Royals rallied. Alcides Escobar and Drew Butera doubled. Merrifield singled and the Royals had shrunk the lead by 2. That ended a tiring Carlos Carrasco’s day, the Indians starter giving up 4 runs in 6.2 innings with 8 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts. Andrew Miller retired Cain to end the inning. Similarly, as has been the case this season, the Indians answered with an Edwin Encarnacion solo home run off of Kevin McCarthy. This provided the final margin of 8-4.
The Royals drop back to 2 under .500. The Royals are 4.5 back of the Twins with only 14 to play. More frustrating still, no one seems to be able to claim the 2nd Wild Card. Seattle already lost and Baltimore and Tampa Bay are losing. Tomorrow Kansas City faces AL Cy Young favorite Corey Kluber. It could potentially be Danny Duffy Day, as he is on track to be activated for tomorrow’s start. Cleveland’s magic number to clinch the division is 1 so they may be celebrating tonight. Maybe the Royals can get their drinking night lineup tomorrow.