KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Harold Ramirez hit a tie-breaking double in the eighth, pinch-hitter Jake Bauers added a two-run homer later in the inning and the Cleveland Indians rallied from a three-run deficit to beat the Kansas City Royals 7-3 on Tuesday night.
Strong bullpen work by Nick Sandlin, Nick Wittgren (1-1) and Cal Quantrill blanked the Royals over the final four innings as the Indians improved to 14-1 when scoring at least four runs. They are 1-12 when scoring fewer.
“We have good team chemistry here,” Bauers said, “and it's coming together in late innings and securing wins with our bats, and that's awesome to see.”
Royals reliever Josh Staumont (0-1) walked Franmil Reyes in the eighth before Ramirez guided a pitch just inside the foul line for the go-ahead run. Josh Naylor followed with an RBI single, and Bauers capped the inning in style.
“They're bringing in some pretty good arms out of the 'pen,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “We put a couple things together but whenever we did, it got squelched.”
Salvador Perez provided the biggest highlight for Kansas City, hitting a home run estimated at 460 feet into the fountains.
The Royals led 1-0 in the third when they scored on a bizarre sequence of events.
With runners on second and third, Perez hit a high fly to the warning track that missed the gloves of the converging outfielders. Naylor caught the carom off the track and crew chief Angel Hernandez appeared to call Perez out as if it was a flyout. Amid the confusion, one baserunner kept going and the other retreated.
The umpires eventually convened and awarded Perez an RBI single while putting the second runner on third, even though both of them — speedy Whit Merrifield and Andrew Benintendi — probably would have scored on the play.
“I told Angel, ‘Why does it always happen when you’re here?'” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It was aggravating, but I didn't think there was anything we could do. Believe me, I was thinking about it. We knew it wasn't a catch. Everybody knew it but Angel.”
Hernandez also had an easy safe-out call at first base overturned upon review.
Perez gave the Royals a 3-0 lead with his home run in the fifth before the Indians began their comeback in the sixth.
Royals starter Mike Minor loaded the bases before Greg Holland came on in relief. He gave up a grounder that shortstop Nicky Lopez booted for an error, allowing two runs to score, and Ramirez followed with a tying single.
Ramirez provided another big hit a couple of innings later to send the Indians to the win.
“They keep playing, which we stress that so much,” Francona said. “We know there's going to be frustration. There has been. But keep playing. If you keep playing it gets fun.”
Matheny says there was 'just too much momentum going the other direction' in loss
Indians: LF Jordan Luplow (left groin) was back in the starting lineup after getting a day off. “I don’t think he’s 100%," Francona said, "but he showed good strength with our trainers.”
Royals: RHP Brady Singer (foot) threw a bullpen and remains on schedule to start Wednesday after taking a liner off his heel last Friday in Minnesota. “Everything seems to be going in a good direction,” Matheny said.
The Royals signed SS Alcides Escobar, a member of their 2015 title team, to a minor league contract and sent him to Triple-A Omaha. The 34-year-old Escobar last played in the majors in 2018 with Kansas City. He played on minor league deals for the Orioles and White Sox in 2019 and spent last year with the Yakult Swallows in Japan.
“My message to everybody that has a passion for this game is make them pry your spikes off your feet,” Matheny said. “If you love it, you play it until you've exhausted every potential opportunity out there.”
Major league strikeout leader Shane Bieber (3-2, 2.76 ERA) tries to improve to 5-0 in nine career starts against the Royals as the teams continue their four-game set Wednesday night. Singer (1-3, 3.09) takes the mound for Kansas City.