Cleveland (15-23) scored five runs in losing twice to major league-leading Tampa Bay on Monday and Tuesday before beginning an eight-game homestand in dismal fashion Wednesday.
The Indians took a 4-3 lead into the ninth inning before the Royals (16-25) scored five runs off embattled closer Kerry Wood(notes), who recorded one out. Wood tossed his glove into the stands as he walked off the field to a chorus of boos in the 8-4 loss.
“It was meant to happen,” manager Manny Acta said. “The first hit (in the rally) landed just inside the line, then we couldn’t make a play. Then Kerry fell behind to too many hitters.”
The losses have only been part of Cleveland’s woes. Before Wednesday’s game, the Indians put Gold Glove center fielder Grady Sizemore(notes) on the disabled list with a deep bruise in his left knee, while shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) underwent surgery on a broken left arm and is out 8-10 weeks.
“This is very tough,” Acta said. “Nobody anticipated us missing our two best players, but nobody said this was going to be easy.”
Veteran outfielder-first baseman Shelley Duncan(notes) was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to take Sizemore’s roster spot. The 30-year-old Duncan was signed to a minor league contract in January and hit .301 with six homers and 34 RBIs in 38 games at Columbus.
Cleveland looks to bounce back behind starter Mitch Talbot(notes) (5-2, 3.23 ERA) as he looks to notch his second three-game win streak of the season. Talbot lasted eight innings and gave up two runs in an 8-2 victory at Baltimore on Saturday.
The right-hander, limiting left-handed hitters to a .129 average, has never faced the Royals.
“Those kids don’t quit,” Yost said. “Right up until the end they kept battling. That ninth inning was as good as it gets.”
The Royals are hoping starter Luke Hochevar(notes) (3-2, 5.86) can turn it around after going 1-2 with a 9.17 ERA in his previous four outings. Hochevar allowed five runs over 6 1-3 innings in a 5-4 loss to Chicago on Saturday.