CLEVELAND: The Indians’ offense showed some signs of life Tuesday night, but the bullpen couldn’t make it count in an 11-5 loss to the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field.
The Indians (6-13) entered the bottom of the sixth inning trailing 3-2 and heading toward another low-scoring loss. Right fielder Brandon Moss, who the inning before had made a poor throw that allowed a run to score, responded with a three-run home run to right field off of Royals reliever Brandon Finnegan to give the Indians a 5-3 lead.
Lonnie Chisenhall followed with a single, Michael Bourn walked and Jason Kipnis was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. The Indians couldn’t add to the lead, though, as Jose Ramirez grounded out to end the inning. As it turns out, those extra runs were needed.
Scott Atchison took over for Trevor Bauer (six innings pitched, seven hits, three earned runs, two walks, two strikeouts) in the seventh. The Royals answered with a double, a single, a groundout and a double by Alcides Escobar to quickly tie the score 5-5 against Atchison.
The Royals (14-6) reclaimed the lead on a broken play with Marc Rzepczynski, who relieved Atchison, on the mound and one out. With Escobar on second base, Mike Moustakas hit a high chopper to first base. Carlos Santana fielded it and flipped it to Rzepczynski, but he missed the bag. Escobar then broke for home. Rzepczynski’s throw was in the dirt but it beat Escobar to the plate.
Catcher Brett Hayes fielded the throw but lost the ball while applying the tag. A play that easily could have been an inning-ending double play turned into no outs and the Royals taking a 6-5 lead.
With two outs and two Royals still on base, Bryan Shaw entered the game and gave up a three-run home run to Kendrys Morales to make it 9-5.
The Royals’ six-run seventh inning turned the Indians’ three-run sixth into a distant memory.
The Royals added two insurance runs in the ninth off of Anthony Swarzak.
Michael Brantley had another two-hit performance (double, single). Michael Bourn, hitting ninth in the lineup, went 1-for-3 with a two-out, two-RBI single in the second inning and a walk.
He also stole a base, his second of the season.
Bauer said after the game he was maybe about 30 percent healthy and light-headed Tuesday night. He was supposed to start Saturday but got food poisoning the night before and is still feeling its effects. Bauer said he had lost four pounds as of yesterday and was struggling, but that the team needed him to eat up some innings.
Since beating the Detroit Tigers 13-1 on Friday night, the Indians have lost four in a row.
Tuesday’s loss sent the Indians to their fourth consecutive series loss for the first time since losing five series in a row in September of 2012.
The Indians’ 6-13 start is their worst since 1992 and matches the 6-13 start of the 1987 Indians, the last time Sports Illustrated picked the Indians to win the World Series until this season.
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 and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.