A forgettable season for the Kansas City Royals continues to get worse.
One day after a monumental collapse, Kansas City concludes its three-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium on Thursday.
The Royals (46-82) looked comfortably ahead on Wednesday, scoring a club-record 10 runs in the first inning en route to a 10-1 lead. But slowly, the Indians (57-68) clawed back, scoring four runs in the ninth to tie the game at 13 and eventually winning 15-13 in 10 innings.
Kansas City became the first team in 17 years to score 10 runs in an inning and lose, and it was the largest lead blown in a loss by the Royals in franchise history.
Pittsburgh scored 10 runs in the bottom of the first against Philadelphia on June 8, 1989, but lost 15-11, the last team to accomplish the dubious feat before the Royals.
“The word is unbelievable,” Cleveland starter Paul Byrd said. “I really don’t know what to say. It was incredible. I’m in shock that our team came back.”
“It was a heartbreaker for sure,” Sweeney said. “They just kept creeping back, creeping back, creeping back.”
As low as the Royals were feeling, the Indians were riding high after another improbable comeback against Kansas City. Cleveland rallied for 11 runs in the ninth to beat the Royals 13-7 on Aug. 9, 2005, after trailing 7-2 at Kauffman Stadium.
Ryan Garko, Hector Luna and Victor Martinez had RBI doubles in the ninth Wednesday, and Shin-Soo Choo’s RBI triple sent the game into extra innings. Garko and Luna had RBI singles in the 10th to put the Indians ahead.
“It was like climbing a mountain, and you finally get to the top,” Garko said. “It’s a tough game, but it’s a fun game.”
Following the improbable victory, C.C. Sabathia (8-8, 3.29 ERA) will hope for the same good fortune as he tries for only his second win since the All-Star break when he starts for Cleveland on Thursday. The Indians ace has been the victim of bad luck in his last four starts, going 1-1 despite a 1.45 ERA.
After allowing one run in eight innings to beat Boston on Aug. 1, Sabathia has been let down by his bullpen and a lack of run support.
Sabathia didn’t allow any earned runs against Detroit on Aug. 6, but lost 1-0. He pitched well against Kansas City on Aug. 12, allowing five hits and one run in eight innings, but the Royals rallied for three runs in the ninth against the bullpen.
He gave up eight hits and three runs in eight innings against Tampa Bay on Friday, but the Devil Rays scored three times in the bottom of the ninth against Indians relievers, costing the 6-foot-7, 290-pound left-hander a victory.
“It’s frustrating that our team is not winning,” Sabathia said. “I could care less about my record. I just want our team to win and for our guys to do good.”
Sabathia is 10-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 22 career starts against the Royals. A win on Thursday would give him his most victories against one team.
Mark Redman (7-8, 5.79) looks to avoid a third straight loss and win his first game since July 25 when he starts for Kansas City on Thursday.
Redman has allowed 13 runs—10 earned—in 9 2-3 innings over his last two outings and is 0-3 with a 9.27 ERA in five starts since beating Baltimore last month, his only victory since the All-Star break.
Redman didn’t earn a decision against Cleveland on April 21, allowing five hits and three runs in six innings, but has had plenty of success in his career against the Indians. He is 5-1 with a 2.86 ERA in eight starts, and hasn’t lost to Cleveland since April 5, 2002.