Soria can't hold lead, Royals lose to Indians 5-2
CLEVELAND—Joakim Soria had been automatic lately for the Kansas City Royals.
Until Saturday night.
Soria's streak of 12 consecutive saves ended on Matt LaPorta's three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning that gave the Cleveland Indians a 5-2 victory.
Soria's early season struggles forced manager Ned Yost to move him out of the closer's role in late May. The move was temporary and he regained his job about a week later. The right-hander had a 0.41 ERA and had held opponents to a .188 average since then.
Soria's hot streak ended at an inopportune time. After Chris Getz singled home the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth, Soria quickly imploded, hitting Asdrubal Cabrera in the right foot with a pitch. As far as Soria (5-4) was concerned, that set the tone for the inning.
"I threw a curveball in the dirt, but it hit the guy," he said. "When you put the first guy on, anything can happen."
"That was about the worst pitch he made all inning," Yost said.
Travis Hafner bounced into a forceout and was replaced by pinch-runner Orlando Cabrera at first base. Carlos Santana then doubled down the third-base line to put runners on second and third.
"He hit it to the line," Soria said. "If you look at the pitch, he should be able to hit it that way."
Kosuke Fukudome, acquired for two minor leaguers on Thursday from the Chicago Cubs, hit a sacrifice fly to tie it at 2 before Lonnie Chisenhall walked. LaPorta delivered his 10th homer, a line shot just over the wall in left.
"It was a fastball right in there," Soria said. "He crushed the ball. He's got a lot of power."
"It was a pretty exciting high," LaPorta said. "I looked for something over the plate and wanted to attack it."
LaPorta's homer gave Cleveland its 12th home win its last at-bat. It was Soria's sixth blown save in 25 chances.
"This team has been really good at the end of games, but it's not like I was afraid of them," Soria said. "I tried to make my best pitches and they hit it."
The loss was Kansas City's fourth in 11 games.
"It was a good game," Yost said. "There was good pitching and clutch hitting on both sides."
Royals starter Felipe Paulino held Cleveland to four hits over six innings. The right-hander walked two and struck out four, including the side in the first inning on 15 pitches.
Tony Sipp (6-2) pitched the top of the ninth when the Royals took a 2-1 lead. Justin Masterson left after yielding a leadoff single to Jeff Francoeur after the Indians tied the score in the eighth.
Francoeur stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Mike Moustakas and one out later scored on Getz's single off Sipp that fell safely in right center.
Cleveland, hitless into the fifth, scored in the eighth to tie it at 1. Chisenhall drew a 12-pitch walk from Tim Collins, moved up on a passed ball and scored on Michael Brantley's two-out ground single to right off Aaron Crow on a full count. Chisenhall slid in ahead of the tag by catcher Brayan Pena, who entered in the sixth when Matt Treanor left with a concussion after tagging out LaPorta trying to score.
Kansas City took a quick 1-0 lead against Masterson. Alex Gordon opened the game with a walk, went to third on a double by Melky Cabrera and scored on a one-out groundout to second by Hosmer.
Treanor was hurt keeping it scoreless in the sixth. LaPorta doubled and took third on a sharp single to center by No. 9 hitter Ezequiel Carrera.
LaPorta was thrown out trying to score on a fly ball to left by Brantley. Alex Gordon's throw home was in time and LaPorta bowled over Treanor at the plate. He hung on to the ball, but laid motionless, face down in the dirt. He was taken to a hospital for a CT scan and will be placed on the seven-day concussion list.
"He was knocked out at the plate," Yost said. "He was dazed. He didn't know what planet he was on when he got up."
Notes: Gordon's assist was his 17th this season, tying a Royals record for outfielders. ... Indians manager Manny Acta said he expects RHP Carlos Carrasco to be fined, but is not sure a suspension is warranted for his ejection Friday after throwing at the head of Royals slugger Billy Butler. ... The Royals' 12-0 win Friday was their largest road shutout in history, in the team's 3,389th game outside Kansas City, according to Elias Sports Bureau. ... The Royals are the majors' youngest team, with a roster average of 26 years, 350 days. The Indians are next at 27 years, 210 days.