CLEVELAND (AP) — After winning his first game as Indians interim manager Friday, Sandy Alomar Jr. said he knew there would be tougher days ahead.
Little did he know one of those tougher days was right around the corner.
After rallying from a 6-2 deficit with two runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth, the Indians fell to Kansas City 7-6 in 14 innings Saturday night.
“Today was a difficult game, but it was fun,” Alomar said. “The guys came back, they fought.”
Friday was Alomar’s first game since replacing Manny Acta, who was fired Thursday. Alomar and Terry Francona are the only known candidates for the job. Francona, who managed Boston to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007, likely won’t interview until after the season ends on Wednesday.
Tony Abreu’s two-out single scored Mike Moustakas with the go-ahead run as Kansas City snapped its longest losing streak since a 12-game skid from April 11-24.
The loss ended Cleveland’s three-game winning streak. The Indians haven’t won four straight since June 18-22 and the latest loss gave Alomar a first-hand example of one of the reasons Acta lost his job. The Indians stranded 20 baserunners and were 3 for 21 with runners in scoring position.
“Unfortunately, with men in scoring position, we didn’t hit very well,” Alomar said. “The opportunities were there. We didn’t score, but there are going to be days like this. But I’m very proud of the guys. They fought a great battle out there.”
Both teams used nine pitchers in the game, which lasted 4 hours and 52 minutes. Cleveland’s bullpen pitched 10 scoreless innings before allowing the winning run.
Scott Maine (2-3) walked Moustakas on four pitches to start the 14th. Jeff Francoeur and Brayan Pena struck out, but Maine’s wild pitch moved Moustakas into scoring position. Abreu blooped a single to center to score the go-ahead run.
Vin Mazzaro (4-3) pitched two scoreless innings and Kelvin Herrera pitched the 14th for his third save. The Indians loaded the bases with nobody out, but didn’t score.
Ezequiel Carrera reached on a bunt hit and took third on Shin-Soo Choo’s single to right. Jason Kipnis walked to load the bases. Carlos Santana’s fly ball to left wasn’t deep enough to score Carrera. Lonnie Chisenhall sent a line drive to right field. Francoeur raced in and made a waist high catch with Carrera holding third.
Casey Kotchman, who bounced into a double play with runners on first and third to end the 12th, grounded out to end the game.
“Any time you have as many chances as I did to send the other team on a walk-off (win) as I did, it’s certainly frustrating,” he said.
Royals manager Ned Yost was willing to play until the sun came up if it meant ending the losing streak.
“I don’t care as long as we got it,” he said.
The Royals were down 1-0, but had a six-run third inning that was highlighted by Francoeur’s three-run homer. Billy Butler’s RBI single and Moustakas’s two-run double also keyed the inning.
Trailing 6-2, the Indians scored twice in the eighth before rallying in the ninth to tie the game off closer Greg Holland. Santana drew a four-pitch walk to start the inning and went to third on Chisenhall’s bloop single to left. After Kotchman’s sacrifice, pinch-hitter Cord Phelps struck out on three pitches.
Asdrubal Cabrera, who didn’t start while resting wrist and back injuries, worked the count to 3-2 before dropping a double into right-center to tie the game. He entered the game in the eighth as a pinch hitter.
NOTES: Alomar said he kept the lineup card and the ball from the final out from Friday night’s game. … Alomar said Cabrera and OF Brantley will be in the lineup before the season ends. Cabrera has been in and out of the lineup the last two weeks while Brantley hasn’t started for the last five games. Brantley also entered the game in the eighth as a pinch hitter. … Alomar said RHP Roberto Hernandez (sprained ankle) could pitch out of the bullpen in the last four games.