The Royals were climbing uphill all night and never quite got over the top, dropping a 5-4 decision to Cleveland on a Thursday night at Royals Stadium.
The Indians scored two runs in the first off Kansas City starter Renie Martin, and never trailed after that. Miguel Dilone started the game with a single and stolen base. Jorge Orta walked. Mike Hargrove scored Dilone with a double and Toby Harrah drove in Orta with a sacrifice fly.
The Royals tied the game in the second. Facing Cleveland starter Len Barker, Amos Otis led off with a single. Clint Hurdle tripled for the first run, and he scored on John Wathan’s groundout.
Cleveland jumped on top again, scoring single runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. In the fourth, Tom Veryzer walked with one out. Dilone doubled and Orta’s groundout put the Indians on top 3-2. In the fifth, Toby Harrah singled with one out and stole second with two outs. He scored on Alan Bannister’s double. And in the sixth, with reliever Gary Christenson on the mound, singles by Orta and Joe Charboneau preceded Harrah’s RBI single.
The Royals fought back, though. Otis led off the sixth with a home run, his fourth of the year. In the seventh, with reliever Mike Stanton taking over for Barker, Willie Wilson hit an inside-the-park home run, the eighth of his career.
But Stanton, despite issuing a one-out walk in the seventh, pitched three scoreless innings for the save. He struck out four in those three innings and retired the last eight hitters in a row to end the game.
The Royals dropped to 39-24 with the loss and wound up with a split of the two-game series. They still held an eight-game lead over Chicago in the AL West.
George Brett watch: On the disabled list with an ankle injury. Season stats: .337/.407/.609.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198006190.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Fernando Gonzalez (1950), Butch Davis (1958), Yasuhiko Yabuta (1973), Doug Mientkiewicz (1974), Bruce Chen (1977)