Indians 11, Royals 6
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—Losing a 5-1 lead on one swing hardly fazed the hottest team in the major leagues.
The Cleveland Indians weren’t affected by Mark Teahen’s grand slam. A two-run homer by Coco Crisp put them back ahead and they rolled to an 11-6 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night, trimming Chicago’s once-commanding lead in the AL Central to 1 1/2 games.
“That’s the way we’ve been all year,” said center fielder Grady Sizemore, who was 5-for-6. “This isn’t a team that panics.”
Travis Hafner walked with the bases loaded and hit a three-run homer, his sixth in five games for the Indians, who have won 15 of their last 17 games.
The Indians trailed the White Sox by 15 games on Aug. 1. They have not been this close since April 11, when they were one game behind and then lost to the White Sox.
While the Indians were handing the Royals their 100th loss, the White Sox were losing 4-1 to Minnesota in 11 innings, their 10th setback in 14 games.
But Chicago’s rapidly dwindling lead was the last thing the businesslike Indians wanted to discuss.
“We’re controlling what we can control, and that’s playing Kansas City,” manager Eric Wedge said. “It was a long, hard-fought game tonight and we’ll expect another one tomorrow.”
A less-than-sharp Cliff Lee (18-4) won his ninth straight decision, allowing six runs and a season-high 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings.
“I was pretty lucky out there,” said Lee, who hasn’t lost since the New York Yankees beat him 5-4 on July 8. “We got off to a pretty quick lead and I had some cushion to work with and I just gave it right back to them.”
Lee’s winning percentage of .818 leads the American League.
“The credit tonight definitely goes to the hitters,” he said.
Hafner, who hit two home runs in an 8-0 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday, connected off Runelvys Hernandez in the third, his 31st of the year that put the Indians ahead 4-1. He walked with the bases loaded in the eighth.
Then Teahen hit Lee’s first pitch 441 feet for his first career grand slam.
“That might have been the first home run that I’ve ever been able to watch,” Teahen said. “He gave me a good pitch to hit and I jumped on it.”
It was the third grand slam Lee has given up in what has been a breakthrough season for the left-hander.
Sizemore greeted Andrew Sisco (2-4) with a leadoff single in the seventh. Crisp then hit a 3-2 pitch over the wall in center to make it 7-6.
The Royals’ bullpen had not allowed a run in 17 innings.
Sisco pitched one inning and allowed two runs and three hits.
The Royals snapped the 5-5 tie in the sixth when Justin Huber led off with a high fly which popped out of shortstop Jhonny Peralta’s glove in shallow left-center and was ruled a double. Huber went to third on Teahen’s single and scored on Andres Blanco’s sacrifice fly.
The Indians, who have homered in all but three of their last 29 games, tied it 1-all on Ronnie Belliard’s RBI single in the second.
Hernandez gave up five runs and seven hits.
The Royals loaded the bases with no outs in the first but got only one run on a double-play grounder by Stairs.
“We got something going and took the lead but we couldn’t hang on,” Teahen said. “They are a pretty good team.”
It’s the third time in four years the Royals reached 100 losses. They are four losses short of the club record set last year. … Royals 1B Mike Sweeney was a last-minute scratch with what the club said was a back problem. … Teahen’s grand slam was Kansas City’s fourth of the year, and the fifth allowed by the Indians this year. … In their last 29 games, the Indians have hit 57 home runs.
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