You win some, you lose some. Tuesday night was the second half of that equation as the Indians fell to the Kansas City Royals by a score of 6-3. With the loss the Indians didn’t lose any ground in the AL Wild Card race, but things did get a bit more crowded on the back end. The Rays, Indians, and Orioles all lost last night, but the Yankees and obviously the Royals were victorious. This has led to a log jam with the five teams separated by no more than three games heading down the home stretch.
For the Royals, the key to success was the performance of starter Jeremy Guthrie. The former Tribe farm hand was spectacular last night as he worked his way through a relatively clean six innings of work. He scattered nine hits and allowed only one run to cross the plate before exiting the game with a 4-1 lead. The lone run allowed came in the bottom of the first inning thanks to an RBI single by Michael Brantley.
Offensively, the Royals didn’t explode until the fifth inning. It was then that shortstop Alcides Escobar connected for his fourth home run of the season to tie things up at 1-1. One inning later, Mike Moustakas came through in a big way. Despite batting only .150 with runners in scoring position this season, he connected for a two run double to give the Royals a 3-1 lead. Salvador Perez then drove him home with a single to center and made it a 4-1 ball game. They would add on to that lead in the top half of the seventh thanks to a sacrifice fly from Billy Butler.
The Indians put up a fight and made a valiant effort to come back in the bottom of the seventh inning. They were able to cut the Royals lead to 5-3 when Michael Bourn doubled to deep left. Both Yan Gomes and Jose Ramirez scored on the play. Unfortunately, the Indians rally would stall after that. Luke Hochevar, who has rebuilt his career as a solid relief man, came into the game and promptly struck out Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis to end the inning.
The Indians were unable to hold the Royals in check following their short-lived rally in the seventh. In the top of the eighth inning Kansas City added a bit of insurance when Alcides Escobar, the man who started the scoring in the top of the fifth, singled home David Lough to make it 6-3. Meanwhile, the Indians would be retired in order in the eighth and ninth, sealing the victory for the Royals and making things very interesting in the AL Wild Card race.
The Good: Zach McAllister pitched fairly well. Although he allowed four runs to cross the plate, he was done no favors by the offense. This was a winnable game for the Tribe and had they given McAllister any sort of run support early, it may have been a different story.
The Bad: The Indians grounded into three double plays last night. Two of the three ended innings and a third came immediately following a lead off single. The double play if often considered a pitcher’s best friend and last night it certainly was for Jeremy Guthrie.