KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City’s lineup is in a funk, and the Royals are in quite a fight in the AL Central.
Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana each had an RBI single in the 11th inning, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 3-2 victory over the sliding Royals on Saturday night.
Kansas City has lost three in a row to fall into a first-place tie with Detroit, which split a doubleheader at Chicago. Cleveland, which has won six of seven, is just 3 1/2 back.
"It’s extremely agonizing," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It’s frustrating."
The Royals have scored two or fewer runs in five of their past seven games. They went 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position and stranded 16 runners against the Indians, twice leaving the bases loaded.
"These are the games we need to win," said Kansas City’s James Shields, who pitched seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision. "Man we’ve had way too many ups and downs all season long to even think about this one right here. We’re still on the up and up.
"We’ve got a lot of experience in this clubhouse. We know what it takes to win ballgames. Right now, games like tonight we have to win these games, bottom line. We didn’t get the job done today. We’ve got to get better at that."
The Royals got a run back in the bottom of the 11th when Salvador Perez’s two-out double scored Jarrod Dyson. But Erik Kratz struck out to end the game.
Jose Ramirez sparked Cleveland’s winning rally with a leadoff triple. Brantley followed with a base hit against Scott Downs (0-4).
Brantley then stole second and went to third on Perez’s throwing error before Santana singled into center field.
The Royals loaded the bases with one out in the 10th, but failed to score off Josh Tomlin (6-8). The reliever got Alcides Escobar to hit a grounder to third, forcing Perez at the plate. He then struck Jayson Nix, who was making his Royals debut.
"We’ve definitely got to get it going," outfielder Lorenzo Cain. "We’re just letting Cleveland right back in. And Detroit, they’re Detroit and they’re just in it regardless. Hopefully we get going and score some runs."
Cleveland grabbed a 1-0 lead when Yan Gomes doubled in Jason Kipnis in the fourth inning.
The Royals tied it in the eighth without the benefit of a hit. Alex Gordon led off with a walk. Billy Butler then hit a comebacker that should have been a double play, but reliever Scott Atchison threw the ball into center field, putting Gordon on third. With the bases loaded, Cain’s grounder scored Gordon for an unearned run.
Indians rookie Trevor Bauer pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings despite issuing five walks. He allowed four hits and struck out six.
Wade Davis replaced Shields and struck out the side in the eighth to run his scoreless streak to 25 2/3 innings, the longest active streak in the majors. He has allowed just one run in his 49 innings, lowering his ERA to 0.76.
Gordon walked three times. It was the eighth time in his career he has walked at least three times.
Indians: DH Jason Giambi (left knee inflammation) and OF Ryan Raburn (right wrist soreness) are on a rehab assignment with Double-A Akron. Giambi is eligible to come off the disabled list Monday and Raburn on Tuesday.
Royals: DH-OF Josh Willingham was unavailable with a stiff back. … 1B Eric Hosmer (fractured right hand) went 2 for 6 with two RBIs and struck out twice in his first rehab game with Triple-A Omaha. … 2B Omar Infante (right shoulder inflammation) started after missing four games.
Indians: Rookie LHP T.J. House, who won his first big league July 5 over the Royals, is coming off a rocky outing, giving up five runs Tuesday in a no-decision against the White Sox.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy’s 2.47 ERA ranks third in the American League, but he has a losing record at 8-11.