Kansas City Royals snap Cleveland Indians' AL-record win streak at 22 games
CLEVELAND -- All good things must come to an end.
And in the case of the Cleveland Indians, that good thing was their American League-record 22-game winning streak, which came to an end with a 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals in a battle AL Central Division teams at Progressive Field Friday night.
The Indians (91-57) suffered their first loss since a 6-1 setback to the Boston Red Sox in Cleveland on August 23.
Because of the loss to the Royals (73-74), the Indians’ “Magic Number” to clinch their second straight AL Central Division Championship remained at three.
The Indians got their first two runners of the game on base and a combination of a groundout and sacrifice fly pushed across shortstop Francisco Lindor, which gave the home team a 1-0 lead over the Royals after the first inning.
After fouling off three pitches from Royals starter Jason Vargas, Lindor started the rally with a double off of the scoreboard in left-center field, and then, left fielder Austin Jackson overcame being in a 1-2 hole to earn a walk.
Infielder Jose Ramirez moved both runners up by a base when he grounded out to first base, and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to the warning track in left field, which drove in Lindor.
The Royals needed just one swing of the bat to draw even with the Indians at 1-1 in the top of the second inning.
After designated hitter Brandon Moss struck out looking on a 2-2 pitch to start the frame, Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar belted a two-strike throw from Indians starter Trevor Bauer over the wall and onto the left-field porch for the game-tying run.
Following the home run, Royals left fielder Alex Gordon smashed a double to the wall in center field, but Bauer worked his way around any further damage with groundouts to third base from catcher Drew Butera and second from Whit Merrifield to end the inning.
The Indians broke the 1-1 tie with a two-out rally in the bottom of the third inning.
With Jackson on second base after hitting a double up the alley in right-center field, Ramirez got ahold of a 1-0 pitch from Vargas and smashed it halfway up the bleachers for his 27th home run, and 83rd extra-base hit, of the season.
The blast travelled an estimated 425 feet and gave the Indians a 3-1 lead over the Royals after the third inning.
The Royals had a response for the Indians’ two runs in the bottom of the third inning when former Cleveland outfielder Brandon Moss belted a solo home run just over the wall in center field.
Even in the count, 1-1, after taking a first-pitch ball and looking at a strike, Moss crushed an offering from Bauer to center field for his 22nd home run of the season, which cut Cleveland’s lead down to a run, 3-2, in the fourth inning.
The Royals took advantage of a one-out double from center fielder Lorenzo Cain and drew even with the Indians, 3-3, in the top of the fifth inning.
Cain doubled down the right-field line on a 2-0 pitch from Bauer, and then, came around to score when first baseman Eric Hosmer smacked an opposite-field single into left.
The Royals slowly chipped away at the Indians’ lead and took a 4-3 lead with three hits over a four at-bat stretch in the top of the sixth inning.
Gordon hit a one-out single to left field, which drove Bauer from the game. Then, after reliever Joe Smith got catcher Drew Butera to strike out looking, Merrifield singled to right field and moved Gordon down the second base.
On a 2-2 pitch from Smith, Cain singled to center field and drove in Gordon for the go-ahead run.