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 Bryan Shaw to open the inning, which brought Andrew Miller into the game. Facing Eric Hosmer, Miller induced the routine-looking double-play ground ball to shortstop, but Lindor misplayed it to put runners on the corners with nobody out.
Two batters later, Jorge Bonifacio made the Indians pay by 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 inning but came up short. In one of the biggest at-bats of the night, Royals reliever Joakim Soria struck out Edwin Encarnacion swinging with two on and two out, ending the Indians’ best chance to close the gap.
The ninth inning against Royals closer Kelvin Herrera was quieter, as the Indians failed to mount a serious threat.
The Indians took an early 4-0 lead against Royals starter Ian Kennedy. In the second inning, Jose Ramirez belted a solo home run — his seventh of the season — to right field to give the Indians a 1-0 advantage.
An inning later, two walks to lead off led to back-to-back RBI singles by Lindor and Michael Brantley and an RBI groundout by Carlos Santana to make it 4-0.
That extended hit 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 cut into the Indians’ 4-0 lead in the fourth inning after Mike Clevinger recorded the first two outs. With two outs and a runner on, Bonifacio singled and former Indians outfielder Brandon Moss, acting as the designated hitter for the Royals, crushed a three-run home run to make it 4-3.
Two innings later, Mike Moustakas blasted 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.
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.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ.