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Royals 6, Indians 5: Jason Kipnis' inside-the-park homer not enough in another long, strange game

By Sheldon Ocker Published: July 4, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo.: It was not a good night for baseball.

Even the Kansas City Royals, who beat the Indians 6-5, had misgivings about the evening’s activities at Kauffman Stadium.

The first setback to an enjoyable Wednesday evening was two hours, 37 minutes of rain that delayed the start of the game until 9:47. 

After former Tribe starter Jeremy Guthrie held his old team to two hits over five innings, he gave up consecutive singles to Michael Bourn and Asdrubal Cabrera to start the sixth.

Jason Kipnis followed by launching a drive to deep left field. Alex Gordon chased it but turned the wrong way. When he tried to abruptly change direction at the last second, he fell awkwardly on the track and hit his head on the hard wire fence that fronts the bullpen.

By the time Kipnis finished running, he had gotten all the way to the plate for a three-run, inside-the-park home run. But after an instant or two of joy, Kipnis, now in the dugout, looked apprehensively out at Gordon, lying prone on the track as the Royals’ training staff tended to him.

Gordon eventually was helped to his feet, and walked to the dugout with assistance. It was announced later that he was suffering from a possible concussion and a bruise on his right hip.

The longball by Kipnis gave the Tribe a 3-1 lead. It was the first inside the park homer by an Indians player since Jhonny Peralta did it three years ago against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field.

But the lead was gone by the seventh, when the lights went out. To be precise, every other bank of lights ringing the ballpark went dark owing to a kind of Cinderella effect. 

A glitch in the computer system shut down half the lights when the clock struck midnight. It took 12 minutes for them to come back on, at which time the Tribe rallied.

Ryan Raburn and Yan Gomes drew one-out walks, which ended Guthrie’s work night. Bourn singled to score Raburn as Gomes took third. He scored the tying run on Cabrera’s sacrifice fly.

Scott Kazmir started for the Indians and yielded one run through the fifth inning. But after giving up singles to Alcides Escobar and Eric Hosmer to start the sixth, manager Terry Francona went to his bullpen for Bryan Shaw.

After striking out Billy Butler, Salvador Perez, Lorenzo Cain and Miguel Tejada singled through the same hole on the right side. Those hits and Nick Swisher’s error in failing to catch a pickoff throw from Shaw added up to a four-run rally for the Royals, who took the lead 5-3.

Kazmir lasted five innings and was charged with three runs (two let in by the bullpen), six hits and no walks.

The Tribe’s tying rally in the seventh didn’t dim the Royals’ determination to compete. With Cody Allen on the mound and two outs in the seventh, Hosmer whacked a high drive that cleared the center field fence for his eighth home run of the year, putting Kansas City back in the lead.

In addition to the win, the fans were compensated by getting their promised fireworks show, which began at 1:11 am.

 

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