KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Hunter Dozier's walk-off RBI single down the left-field line with Terrance Gore on third base gave the Royals a 9-8 win and a series sweep of the Cleveland Indians in front of an announced 14,303 at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Royals, now the winners of three straight, made it interesting in the final three innings.
The series sweep appeared within reach midway through. Jakob Junis scratched out 6 1/3 innings, and handed a three-run lead with one out in the seventh over to rookie left-handed reliever Richard Lovelady. But Lovelady, who'd shown flashes of lights-out ability in the minors and at spring training, couldn't finish the inning.
Lovelady gave up back-to-back singles to Leonys Martin and Jose Ramirez, the second an infield single, before getting a ground out which moved the runners to second and third. After Lovelady fell behind Indians slugger Carlos Santana, the Royals decided to walk Santana intentionally.
With bases loaded now after an intentional walk to Santana, the Indians sent right-handed hitter Hanley Ramirez up as a pinch hitter for left-handed batter Naquin. The Royals responded by bringing in right-hander Jake Newberry, but Newberry walked Ramirez to force in a run and then allowed a two-run single to Jake Bauers that tied the score at 8.
The game featured 22 hits (four home runs), 11 walks, and 17 runs.
The Indians wasted no time -- not even a single at-bat -- getting on top of Junis and the Royals. Leonys Martin bashed the 2-1 pitch in the first at-bat of the game over the center-field wall for a solo home run. That marked the second time in a week that Martin started a game off with a home run (he also did it on April 9 at Detroit).
After an infield single by Carlos Gonzalez, the Indians purchased his contract earlier in the day, and a double off the center-field wall by Carlos Santana, Tyler Naquin's two-run single staked the Indians to a 3-0 lead with just one out recorded in the game. Junis gave up three first-inning runs on four hits (two extra-base hits).
By the time the game got to the second inning, Junis clearly wasn't the starting pitcher in trouble. Indians starter Corey Kluber, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, entered the day with a career ERA of 3.10 and a 12-7 career record against the Royals in 25 starts.
The Royals rattled Kluber's cage with a four-run second inning that included a three-run blast by Lucas Duda into the bullpen behind the right field fence that tied the score at 3. Whit Merrifield's second home run of the season, which scraped the top of the wall in right field before it caromed into the bullpen, gave the Royals a 4-3 lead three batters later.