Royals stagger into break with loss
Published on -7/15/2013, 9:56 AM
CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Royals hit the All-Star break showing some cracks.
Kansas City staggered into baseball's unofficial midpoint Sunday with a 6-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians, who swept the three-game series and pushed the third-place Royals eight games out of first place in the AL Central -- their biggest deficit this season.
After opening a trip with two wins in New York, the Royals dropped two straight at Yankee Stadium before the Indians took three in a row from them.
"We've had a rough five games," manager Ned Yost said. "They can go take a break, regroup and hopefully come back and play more consistent baseball."
Royals starter James Shields struggled from the outset. He made it through five innings and was in line for a win but Kansas City's bullpen couldn't protect a slim lead.
Shields allowed three runs and seven hits, but got his seventh no-decision in his past nine games. He hasn't lost since May 27, but the right-hander has just two wins since then.
The Indians made him work hard -- he threw 113 pitches -- and the Royals again failed to score enough runs to make Shields a winner. Kansas City has scored nine total runs in his six losses.
"I don't feel like I struggled," Shields said. "I threw some really good pitches. I think I threw three changeups that probably would have hit the dirt, and they got base hits on them. They probably had about 20 foul-offs. That's a good team over there. They work really good at-bats."
Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run double off Tim Collins (2-5) to cap Cleveland's comeback in the sixth inning as the Indians charged into the break with their fifth win in six games.
Cleveland has its most wins (51) at the All-Star break since 2007 -- the last time the Indians made the playoffs.
Reliever Rich Hill (1-1) got two outs in the sixth and closer Chris Perez -- Cleveland's fifth reliever -- worked the ninth for his 13th save as the Indians improved to 43-1 when leading after eight.
Billy Butler had three hits for the Royals (43-49), who are 10-15 in their past 25. They will be represented at Tuesday's All-Star game in New York by outfielder Alex Gordon, catcher Salvador Perez and closer Greg Holland, who was added to the AL roster on Sunday.
With the Royals clinging to a 4-3 lead, Collins, who also took the loss in Friday's series opener, walked Lonnie Chisenhall leading off and Drew Stubbs singled. Michael Bourn sacrificed, and Cabrera, whose name has surfaced in trade rumors, drove a 1-0 pitch into the gap in right-center to put Cleveland back in front.