Indians lose finale to Royals
Indians fall to KC, lose Ramirez to injury
Jose Ramirez swung and felt something crack.
It was a bone in his right hand. It may as well have been Cleveland’s postseason hopes.
Ryan O’Hearn led off the 10th inning with his second homer of the game, sending the Kansas City Royals to a wild 9-8 win Sunday over the Indians, whose playoff chances were severely rocked by losing Ramirez to a broken right hand.
Down 8-4, the Indians fought back and tied it in the ninth against Ian Kennedy (1-2) on Francisco Lindor’s solo homer and Franmil Reyes’ stunning three-run shot with two outs.
But Nick Goody (3-1) got too much of the plate with a four-seam fastball and O’Hearn drove it over the right-field wall as the Royals salvaged a back-and-forth series finale to snap a four-game losing streak.
Losing the game was secondary to the Indians, who will be without Ramirez as they try to catch Minnesota in the AL Central or win a wild card. The two-time All-Star will undergo surgery today in New York to repair a hamate bone he fractured Saturday night.
The Indians, who have dealt with major injuries all season, won’t know how long Ramirez will be out until after the procedure. But they know he won’t be at third base or batting fifth for the next few weeks — and perhaps the remainder of the season.
“We’ve got to deal with it,” said starter Shane Bieber, who settled in after a few rough innings. “It’s a big blow. We’re not really faced with a choice, it’s just next man up.”
Jorge Lopez worked the 10th for his first major league save.
Ramirez, who awakened from a puzzling, early-season offensive slump in time to propel the Indians back into postseason contention, feared the worst when he was forced to leave Saturday’s game in the first inning.
“You still try to stay optimistic and see if they can tell you better news,” he said through a translator. “But I knew something was bad when it happened.”
Trailing by four and down to their final strike, the Indians tied it against Kennedy.
Lindor homered with one out before Kennedy walked Carlos Santana with two outs and gave up a single to Yasiel Puig.
Kennedy’s wild pitch moved the runners up and Reyes, whose homer leading off the eighth pulled Cleveland to 8-4, brought them home with a 423-foot shot to left, rewarding Indians fans who hung around after the team fell behind 8-3.
“It was crazy,” Reyes said. “Honestly, it was one of the best moments in my life, not my career. It was great.”
Kansas City’s five-run eighth was triggered by shortstop Lindor’s error and highlighted by Jorge Soler’s two-run homer — a 437-foot drive.
Kevin Plawecki hit a two-run homer for Cleveland, which dropped 31/2 games behind the first-place Twins. The Indians still hold a wild-card spot in a tight race with Tampa Bay and Oakland for the two AL berths.