Cleveland The Royals lost a coach during batting practice. Then a squirrel ran onto the field.
Kansas City’s strange night never got better.
Jeremy Guthrie gave up two-run homers to Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley, and the Royals got just six hits in a 4-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Monday night, when a trespassing squirrel provided some comedy by eluding members of the grounds crew for several innings.
Kipnis connected in the sixth inning off Guthrie (2-1), who failed to protect a 3-2 lead. Brantley’s two-run shot in the fourth made it 2-0.
But Kansas City’s problems began before the first pitch when first-base coach Rusty Kuntz broke his left arm when he was struck by a line drive hit by Salvador Perez.
Zach McAllister (3-0) gave up six hits and overcame three errors — one on his errant throw in the fifth, when the Royals scored three times. Marc Rzepczynski and Cody Allen pitched a hitless inning each, and Indians closer John Axford worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his seventh save.
Alex Gordon and Omar Infante each had two hits, but the Royals couldn’t get anything going on offense.
“It’s not like they’re not trying,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “Hopefully we’ll get better when we start swinging the bats. We did a nice job getting three runs in the fifth inning. We did it a number of different ways.”
The game was briefly delayed in the second when a squirrel ventured onto the field, and for a while looked like he might move in permanently.
“He just wanted to hang around,” Royals DH Billy Butler said. “He didn’t want to leave.”
The squirrel was directed inside the Royals bullpen by some of the grounds staff, but the slippery rodent escaped and returned for another scamper to the delight of the crowd of 10,789. The pesky intruder hung around for another inning before it was shooed into the Indians’ center-field bullpen.
The squirrel perched on a ledge for several minutes before jumping the wall into the Heritage Park monument area.
“That little joker was frolicking,” Yost said. “They could have arrested him for trespassing because he didn’t have a ticket.”
Helped by McAllister’s throwing error, the Royals scored three runs in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead.
Mike Moustakas doubled to open the inning and scored when diving center fielder Michael Bourn couldn’t squeeze a sinking liner by Alcides Escobar. Jarrod Dyson followed with a bunt toward third that McAllister fielded cleanly before throwing wildly past first, allowing Escobar to score. One out later, Infante’s RBI single put the Royals in front.
Guthrie, though, couldn’t keep the Indians down.
“He made three mistakes,” Yost said. “He hung a change-up to Brantley. He hind a curveball to Swisher and a slider to Kipnis. The two homers are what did the damage. Outside of that he threw the ball well.”