Royals 5, Indians 4
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—With the aid of bright Missouri sunshine, the Kansas City Royals handed Cleveland a costly loss.
“I saw it. It was right at me,” Sizemore said softly. “It just got in the sun. I knew it was going to be in the sun. I tried to wait for it to come out and I just never saw it.”
The ball bounced off Sizemore’s leg, Berroa raced home from second base and Phillips was credited with a one-out double. The heavy-hitting Indians lost for only the third time in 20 games, trimming their AL wild-card lead to a half-game over the Red Sox and Yankees, who are tied atop the AL East.
Victor Martinez hit a three-run homer for Cleveland, which also dropped 2 1/2 games behind first-place Chicago in the AL Central. The White Sox beat Minnesota 4-1.
Sizemore, instrumental in a surge that has brought the Indians almost all the way back from a 15-game deficit on Aug 1, stood motionless for a few seconds as the ball lay at his feet and Berroa sped home.
“I looked around and there it was,” Sizemore said. “I kind of waited maybe a little too long. Probably should have picked it up and thrown it in. But I was a little frustrated, you know.”
Indians manager Eric Wedge didn’t think Sizemore would have had a chance to get Berroa at the plate.
“I don’t think you’d have a prayer, as deep as he was,” Wedge said. “When you’re staring up into the sun like that, as we all have, you’re not seeing a whole lot after you pull away.”
Cleveland has a day off on Monday before finishing the regular season at home with three games against Tampa Bay and three more against the White Sox.
“We just need to go out there and keep playing the way we’re playing,” Wedge said.
Emil Brown had a two-run shot for the Royals, who had dropped 10 straight to Cleveland and have the worst record in the major leagues. But they snapped the Indians’ four-game winning streak and avoided a four-game sweep, slowing Cleveland’s playoff push—at least for a day.
“It doesn’t seem to matter how far we’re down. This team’s going to battle,” Phillips said. “Today we fought back and got the lead and then lost it and still got it back again.”
Mike MacDougal (5-6) blew a save but got the win.
Ronnie Belliard and Ben Broussard began the Cleveland ninth with infield singles off MacDougal and advanced on a sacrifice by Aaron Boone. Blake’s grounder to second scored Belliard with the tying run.
Westbrook went eight innings, giving up seven hits and four runs—one earned—with one walk and eight strikeouts. He allowed only one hit until the Royals scored three runs in the sixth. Phillips singled leading off, then Andres Blanco reached on shortstop Jhonny Peralta’s error.
“To be honest with you, the way Westbrook was pitching and the at-bats we were getting early on, I thought we had no chance,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said.
Kansas City starter Zack Greinke fell behind 3-0 in the first on Martinez’s homer but then pitched six shutout innings.
Brown’s two-run drive in the sixth tied it for the Royals.
Greinke gave up five hits in seven innings, with one walk and six strikeouts.
Teahen doubled leading off the seventh and was sacrificed to third. He scored when Westbrook’s pitch sailed to the backstop.
After Terrence Long’s RBI single in the sixth, Brown homered for a 3-3 tie. All three runs were unearned.
“I had the lead and felt good but I didn’t get the job done,” Westbrook said. “It’s a tough one.”
All three Cleveland runs in the first were also unearned.
After Sizemore singled, Teahen misplayed Peralta’s grounder to third with one out for an error. With two outs, Martinez hit Greinke’s first pitch into the right-field stands.
The Royals loaded the bases with none out in the eighth but failed to score. Two runners were cut down on infield plays at the plate.
“It was a freak thing with the sun there on the last play,” Westbrook said. “There’s nothing you can do about that.”
The Indians have homered in a season-high 12 consecutive games. … The Royals finished their home season 34-47. … Royals 1B Mike Sweeney missed his fourth straight game with a sore back. … Broussard was credited with a double in the fourth inning when Long lost his high fly to left in the bright sun. … Long departed in the seventh with a twisted left knee. … The Royals’ season attendance for 79 home dates was 1,371,181, their third-lowest total since 1982.