CLEVELAND — The Kansas City Royals were playing their best baseball of the season coming into this weekend series against the Indians.
The Royals led the AL Central and had won 13 of 16 games, including six straight.
When the four-game set at Progressive Field was finished, however, Kansas City was no longer in first place and left town looking for answers.
With a 7-0 loss in a rain-delayed game Sunday, the World Series champion Royals were swept by Cleveland — the first time they’ve been swept in a four-game series since 2012.
"It’s one of those weekends," manager Ned Yost lamented.
Kansas City was outscored 20-2 over the final three games after the Indians got two runs in the ninth inning to win Thursday.
Despite the outcome, Yost expects the Royals to bounce back in their next series when they travel to Baltimore.
"We’re coming off an undefeated homestand where we pitched great. We just didn’t play well here. We didn’t do anything really exceptionally well and they beat us," Yost said. "Now, let’s go to Baltimore and see if we can do better."
Chris Young (2-6) allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings. Four of the runs came on solo homers.
Tyler Naquin, Carlos Santana and Francisco Lindor each homered to right field in the fifth off a slider from Young, who felt he pitched well up until that inning.
"The three sliders, they killed us," Young said. "I thought I had thrown all right and then for whatever reason, my slider got all flat and they punished it."
It was the first time since July 29, 2015, that the Indians hit three home runs in one inning. Mike Napoli hit the first home run of the day in the fourth.
After struggling against the Royals last season, Corey Kluber (5-6) dominated the Kansas City lineup, allowing just two hits and two walks. He was pulled after six innings when the game was delayed by inclement weather for 3 hours, 10 minutes.
Kluber, who gave up both hits in the first, struck out six and retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced.
Play was stopped after Kluber retired the side in the sixth. Heavy rain began to fall at 2:41 p.m. and lasted about an hour. The tarp remained on the field because more rain was expected, but showers didn’t return until around 5 p.m. and fell heavily for about 30 minutes. The game finally resumed at 5:51 p.m.
"It ended up being a good day, other than it was long," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "It’s a heck of a lot better when you’re up than when you’re down."
GLAD TO HAVE THE BIG GUY BACK
While the Royals weren’t happy with the way the series transpired, they were glad catcher Salvador Perez returned to action. Perez bruised his quadriceps just more than a week ago and Yost was thankful it wasn’t worse.
"Could’ve been a catastrophe for us if his foot was just another inch on the ground, where it was dug in," Yost said. "It probably would’ve blown his whole knee out."
After he missed six games, Perez was inserted into the lineup for back-to-back games against the Indians on Saturday and Sunday. He went 2 for 3 on Saturday and was hitless in two at-bats Sunday.
Royals: OF Brett Eibner (sprained left ankle) took part in running and agility drills in the outfield Sunday morning. He was injured Tuesday and placed on the 15-day disabled list the following day.
Indians: RHP Joba Chamberlain (left intercostal strain) will be activated from the 15-day DL prior to Monday’s game in Seattle.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (1-0) makes his fifth start and 21st appearance in the opener of a three-game series at Baltimore.