Indians slip past Royals 5-3
CLEVELAND — The Royals flexed, then fizzled.
Despite getting back-to-back home runs from Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas in the second inning, Kansas City’s offense couldn’t keep the momentum going and the Royals lost 5-3 to the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.
Jason Kipnis drove in Nick Swisher with a two-out double in the seventh inning off Kelvin Herrera (0-1) as the Royals followed a familiar pattern this season.
Kansas City is 0-10 when it doesn’t score at least four runs, and 10-0 went it does.
Things started well for Kansas City as Perez and Moustakas connected in the second off Indians starter Justin Masterson.
But the Royals gave those two runs right back and then made two errors on one play in the sixth to allow Cleveland to score the go-ahead run.
"It was nice to get the back-to-back homers," manager Ned Yost said. "But they came right back. They found ways to score."
Down 3-2, the Indians tied it in the sixth off lefty starter Jason Vargas when Michael Brantley scored from first on two Kansas City errors.
Brantley singled with one out, and broke for second with two down and Yan Gomes batting. As Brantley slid safely into second, the throw from catcher Perez skipped into center field. Brantley hustled toward third and center fielder Jarrod Dyson took his eye off the ball, overrunning it and letting the tying run score.
"I came in too hard," said Dyson, who had three hits. "I should have come in and played it off the hop because I probably didn’t have a shot at him anyway. I have to remind myself to slow the body down. I came in crashing like that. When you have two outs and your pitcher up there doing his thing you kind of have to settle down and not make that mistake."
The Royals have a small margin of error to begin with and little mistakes only make things tougher.
"Salvy’s throw was a tight, short hop to second base," Yost said. "Dyson was charging real hard to pick the ball and maybe make a play at third. The ball just hopped over his glove. That was an important play.
"Vargas was grinding, but if the score remains 3-2 you could actually send him back out and see if you could get an out or two out of him, but once they tied the score it makes it kind of impossible to do."
The Royals brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but John Axford got his AL-leading eighth save.
Moustakas gave the Royals a 3-2 lead in the sixth, when an error by All-Star second baseman Kipnis helped set up Kansas City’s unearned go-ahead run.
Eric Hosmer singled and was safe at second after Kipnis dropped shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera’s low throw. Hosmer moved to third on a fielder’s choice and Moustakas delivered his two-out RBI single.
But that was all the Royals could muster.
"It’s baseball," Yost said. "This game’s played every day that way. It’s never going to be easy. It’s always going to be tough."
The homers by Perez and Moustakas connected in the second were Kansas City’s first back-to-back shots since July 4 last season against Cleveland.
With one out, Perez snapped an 0-for-22 slump with a drive over the center-field wall for his first homer. Four pitches later, Moustakas made it 2-0 with a liner into the Royals’ bullpen, the same place he hit a three-run shot on Tuesday in Kansas City’s 8-2 win.
NOTES: Kansas City has a major league-low nine homers. … Royals 1B coach Rusty Kuntz had eight screws and a plate inserted into his left arm, broken Monday when he was hit by a Perez line drive during batting practice. Kuntz will spend one night at the Cleveland Clinic but is expected to travel with the team Thursday to Baltimore. … Vargas allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. He’s gone at least six in all five starts. … Indians RHP Corey Kluber (1-2) faces Royals RHP Bruce Chen (1-1) in Thursday’s matinee finale.