The Royals’ struggles continued in a lackluster 7-1 loss to Cleveland on Sunday afternoon at Royals Stadium.
Kansas City lost for the 10th time in 14 games. The offense managed just seven hits against Indians starter Jim Bibby and went 1-9 with runners in scoring position. Meanwhile, Royals pitchers Dennis Leonard and Larry Gura were allowing 12 hits. Kansas City also committed two errors, leading to two unearned runs.
Cleveland jumped on top in the third inning. Buddy Bell led off with a single and took second on a sacrifice bunt. Frank Duffy’s single scored Bell. Duffy was picked off first, but Rick Manning hit his second home run of the series (but only third of the year) for a 2-0 lead.
The Royals cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third. Frank White and Tom Poquette both singled with one out, then pulled off a double steal. But KC could only get one run, as Hal McRae hit a sacrifice fly and Amos Otis flied out.
The Indians blew the game open in the sixth. Duffy reached on an error by shortstop Freddie Patek to start the inning. With one out, Duane Kuiper singled and Jim Norris walked to load the bases. Gura entered the game, but Paul Dade singled to score two runs. Dade then stole second; catcher Darrell Porter’s throw went into center field, letting Norris score from third while Dade advanced to third. Bruce Bochte’s sacrifice fly gave Cleveland a 6-1 lead.
The Royals had runners at first and third with no outs in the fifth, but White, Poquette, and McRae all made outs without bringing them home. Those were the first three in a string of nine straight retired by Bibby, and the Royals would have just two hits the rest of the game.
Bell hit a solo home run in the eighth to cap the scoring.
The loss dropped the Royals to 18-20. They were tied for fourth place in the AL West with California; both teams were 6.5 games behind first-place Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: