CLEVELAND: Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor has had a knack for the spotlight in some big moments this season. On Friday night, he found the spotlight again but for the wrong reason, as the Indians fell to the Kansas City Royals 6-4 at Progressive Field.
The Indians (24-22) and Royals (20-27) entered the eighth inning in a 4-4 tie. Lorenzo Cain singled off of Bryan Shaw to open the inning, which brought Andrew Miller into the game. Facing Eric Hosmer, Miller induced the routine-looking double-play ball to shortstop, but Lindor misplayed it, putting runners on the corners with nobody out.
Two batters later, Jorge Bonifacio made the error count, ripping a two-run double to left field to put the Royals up 6-4.
The Indians brought the tying run into scoring position in the bottom of the eighth but came up short. In one of the biggest at-bats of the night, Royals reliever Joakim Soria with two on and two out in the inning struck out Edwin Encarnacion swinging, ending the Indians’ best chance to close the gap.
The ninth inning against Royals closer Kelvin Herrera was quieter, as the Indians failed to make up for a costly error in the eighth.
Earlier, the Indians took an early 4-0 lead against Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Ian Kennedy. In the second inning, Jose Ramirez belted a solo home run to right field, his seventh of the season, to give the Indians a 1-0 advantage. An inning later, two walks to lead off the inning led to back-to-back RBI-singles by Lindor and Michael Brantley, respectively, and an RBI-groundout by Carlos Santana to make it 4-0.
It extended hit current streaks for Lindor and Brantley to 11 and 10 games, respectively. They are the only teammates this season to have multiple hit streaks of at least 10 games.
The Royals the Indians’ 4-0 lead by the fifth inning. As has at times been the story, Mike Clevinger in the fourth inning recorded the first two outs but couldn’t escape unscathed. With two outs and a runner on, Bonifacio singled and was followed by former Indians outfielder Brandon Moss, acting as the designated hitter for the Royals Friday night, who crushed a three-run home run to slice into the lead. Two innings later, Mike Moustakas added a solo home run to tie it 4-4.
Clevinger lasted five innings, gave up four runs on eight hits and struck out six, raising his ERA in the majors this season to 2.82.
With the loss, the Indians are now 0-2 at home this season in games in which a squirrel runs onto the field. In the sixth inning of Friday’s game, a squirrel ran onto the field but didn’t cause much of a disturbance. A few years after the “Rally Squirrel” craze, the Indians this season haven’t had as much magic when visited by their critter friends.