Hosmer's ninth-inning homer lifts Royals over Indians 2-1
CLEVELAND -- Eric Hosmer pointed at his teammates celebrating wildly in the dugout and continued his trot around the bases.
With one swing, Hosmer gave the Royals another thrilling moment in a season getting better by the second.
Hosmer's homer with two outs in the ninth inning off Trevor Bauer lifted Kansas City to a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night over the fading Cleveland Indians, who have lost eight straight at home -- their longest home losing streak in 40 years.
Hosmer hit a 3-2 curveball from Bauer (8-8) over the wall in right for his 11th homer, a shot that helped push the Royals 23 games over .500 for the first time since 1989.
"It's real exciting," said Hosmer, batting .422 with five homers and 19 RBIs against the Indians this season. "It's the final push for the second half. We're trying to win these ballgames. We realize these games in the division are important, especially one that close late in the game.
"It's a big win for us."
The Indians, meanwhile, are bottoming out. They've lost six straight and eight in a row at home for the first time since 1975, when they played at Cleveland Stadium.
Bauer probably deserved a better fate. He held the AL's top team to one run for 8 2/3 innings before Hosmer reached down and connected on a 75-mph curveball.
"I've thrown him one 3-2 curveball this year," said Bauer, who recorded his first career complete game. "If I walk him, I walk him and get the next guy out, but I'm not going to let a guy who's hot like that beat me, so I tried to bounce it and the ball was going to bounce on the tip of the plate. It's freaking baseball. It sucks."
Hosmer's homer came one pitch after Indians catcher Roberto Perez threw out Lorenzo Cain trying to steal second.
"Talk about changing emotion with one pitch," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That's just a really good hitter."
Wade Davis (7-1) pitched a perfect eighth and Greg Holland worked the ninth -- getting a nifty groundout, and a game-ending double play -- for his 22nd save as the Royals won their fourth straight and 16th in 21 games.
Perez opened Cleveland's ninth with a grounder toward center that appeared to be a single. However, second baseman Omar Infante ran it down on the grass and flipped the ball with his glove to shortstop Alcides Escobar, who grabbed it barehanded and threw out Perez.
"That was incredible," Hosmer said. "Those guys up the middle never seem to surprise us with the plays they make."
The Royals seem to have found the winning formula: Keep it close, turn it over to their bullpen and score one more run than the opposition.
"The feeling is if we're tied or with the lead after the fifth inning we stand a great chance of winning with our bullpen," manager Ned Yost said. "For the most part they're going to hold them right there until we can find a way to scratch a run across."
Both teams made trades Tuesday in advance of Friday's deadline.
The Royals made their second major move, acquiring utilityman Ben Zobrist and nearly $2.6 million from Oakland for right-hander Aaron Brooks and minor league left-hander Sean Manaea.
On Sunday, Kansas City landed ace Johnny Cueto, who joined his new teammates for the first time Tuesday and will make his debut Friday in Toronto.
The Indians shipped veteran outfielder David Murphy to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for minor league shortstop Eric Statmets.
The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Hosmer, of course, drove in Kansas City's first run.
With two outs, Cain sent a drive to deep right that Brandon Moss appeared to catch but lost possession of the ball when he banged into the padded wall. The Indians contended that Moss had made the grab, but the triple was upheld following a video review by the umpires.
Hosmer followed with his second hit, a run-scoring single.
Michael Bourn's speed allowed Cleveland to tie it in the fifth.
He led off with a single and stole second. One out later, Bourn swiped third and scored when catcher Salvador Perez's throw tailed away from third baseman Mike Moustakas.
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The Royals are 42-14 when they hit at least one homer.
Davis dropped his ERA to a mind-boggling 0.41 -- two runs in 42 2/3 innings. He has 16 wins in the past two seasons, the most by any reliever in the majors.
Royals: RHP Jeremy Guthrie starts the series finale, looking to bounce back from a loss last week in Houston when he allowed four runs and 11 hits in seven innings.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber dropped his 12th decision of the season in a 6-0 loss to the White Sox on Friday. The Indians haven't scored in six of his 21 starts this season.