CLEVELAND — One bad afternoon did little to dampen the spirits of the reigning AL champion Royals.
Jeremy Guthrie allowed eight runs and tied a team record by hitting three batters Wednesday, and the Cleveland Indians routed Kansas City 12-1.
The Royals, who were denied a four-game sweep, remain atop the American League with a 61-39 record. They also matched the franchise’s all-time best mark through 100 games.
"This was just one of those days that happen every once in a while," said manager Ned Yost, whose team had its four-game winning streak stopped. "There’s really nothing you can do about it.
"You’re going to have some highs and lows along the way, but the reality is we’ve got the second-best record in baseball (behind St. Louis)."
The Royals also have reinforcements on the way as outfielder Ben Zobrist — acquired in a trade with Oakland one day earlier — is scheduled to join them in Toronto. Right-hander Johnny Cueto will make his Kansas City debut Friday against the Blue Jays.
Cueto threw a side session before the game at Progressive Field. The former Reds ace joined the club in Cleveland after being dealt to the Royals on Sunday.
"These moves obviously will help our team, and they’re going to give us a lot of flexibility," Yost said. "Zobrist, especially, because every player needs breaks the later you go into the season."
Guthrie (7-7) could wind up with an unwanted break as a result of Cueto’s acquisition. The right-hander lasted only 5 1/3 innings and surrendered three homers in the sixth, including a three-run shot by rookie shortstop Francisco Lindor.
Either Guthrie or Chris Young will be bumped from the starting rotation next week, but Guthrie said it wasn’t on his mind against the Indians.
"It just unraveled for me and was not a good outing when you look back at it," said Guthrie, who allowed six runs in the sixth and saw his ERA rise to 5.65. "I was wild. I didn’t have very good stuff, and they just feasted on me in the sixth."
Guthrie hit Yan Gomes with the bases loaded in the first and struck Jason Kipnis in the back in the second, prompting both benches to be warned by home plate umpire Tom Woodring. He then hit Michael Brantley in the fifth, which led to Indians manager Terry Francona’s ejection.
Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber (6-11) carried a perfect game into the fifth and a shutout into the ninth before settling for a five-hitter. Alex Rios drove in Kansas City’s lone run with a groundout, scoring Kendrys Morales.
Eric Hosmer had two doubles and is now 21 for 47 (.447) against Cleveland this season.
"Kluber was really good, really good," Yost said. "His location, fastball, change — they were all working today."
Kansas City is 9-5 during its ongoing stretch of 18 games in 17 days. All-Stars Salvador Perez and Lorenzo Cain were given the afternoon off.
Royals 3B Mike Moustakas was charged with an error for committing defensive interference during a rundown. Moustakas impeded the progress of Michael Bourn, who was awarded third base as a result. Kansas City SS Alcides Escobar later lost a popup in the sun, which was scored as a single by Gomes.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy, who is 2-1 with a 2.15 ERA in six starts since returning from a biceps injury, takes the mound Thursday to open a four-game series in Toronto.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco pitches the first game of a four-game set Thursday at Oakland. He allowed a season-high six runs in a 10-3 loss to the White Sox on July 25.