Michael A. Taylor lined a one-out single to right, driving in Edward Olivares with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Kansas City Royals walked off the visiting Cleveland Guardians 4-3 in the first game of a three-game series.
The Guardians lost their fifth straight and their 13th in their last 17 games.
Facing Cleveland left-handed reliever Sam Hentges (2-1), Vinnie Pasquantino led off the bottom of the ninth with a double off the wall in right, and Olivares entered as a pinch runner.
The Guardians threatened in the top of the ninth, loading the bases with one out in the top, but reliever Scott Barlow (3-2) got out of the jam without allowing a run.
Both starting pitchers spun quality starts. The Guardians’ Aaron Civale allowed one run on six hits in a season-high seven innings. He struck out six without walking a batter.
Kansas City’s Brady Singer allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five.
The Guardians got on the board in the second inning. Nolan Jones, who was making his major league debut, laced a double down the right-field line. He drove in Owen Miller from first. Jones went to third on a throwing error by right fielder Kyle Isbel, but he was stranded there.
The Royals answered with a run in the bottom of the third. Andrew Benintendi lobbed a two-out single into short right field, scoring Taylor. Whit Merrifield, who went to third on the hit, tried to score when the ball got away from Jose Ramirez at third. But the ball caromed back to Ramirez, who easily threw out Merrifield at home.
The Guardians started the seventh inning with a double by Ramirez that barely eluded a diving catch by Isbel in right. Isbel got his glove on it, but it was ruled a trap. Franmil Reyes then followed with an opposite-field home run into the bullpen in right. It was his eighth homer of the season and the 100th of his career.
Merrifield tied the score in the eighth on a two-run home run off reliever Eli Morgan.
–Field Level Media