Cleveland Jorge Bonifacio couldn’t stop smiling after leading the Kansas Royals to a comeback victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Not only did his two-run double in the eighth inning give the Royals a 6-4 victory, the clutch hit came off relief ace Andrew Miller. It doesn’t get much better for a rookie in his second month as a big leaguer.
“It feels amazing,” Bonifacio said. “To have the game-winning hit against one of the best relievers in the game right now, that’s great for us.”
The Royals entered the game with the lowest winning percentage in the AL, but rallied from an early 4-0 deficit. Brandon Moss hit a three-run homer in the fourth and Mike Moustakas’ solo home run in the fifth tied the game.
“It was a great comeback win, down four and the guys kept fighting back,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Bonny’s double was key and was a great at-bat. We’re down 4-0, then Mossy did a nice job on his home run.”
Shortstop Francisco Lindor’s fielding error placed runners on first and third before Bonifacio’s clutch hit.
“It’s on me, man,” Lindor said. “Today’s loss is on me. I messed up. I know it’s not my first time and it won’t be my last, but stuff like that can’t happen.”
Lorenzo Cain started the winning rally with a single off Bryan Shaw (1-1). Miller got Eric Hosmer to hit a ground ball, but Lindor booted a backhand attempt for his fourth error of the season.
“It ends up being a really big play obviously,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of the 23-year-old shortstop. “Sometimes because he’s been so good we forget he’s so young.”
Miller retired Salvador Perez on a foul out, but Bonifacio’s double to left-center on an 0-2 pitch scored both runners.
“The first pitch, I was looking for his fastball,” Bonifacio said. “After that, I was looking breaking ball all the way.”
Mike Minor (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings. Joakim Soria struck out Edwin Encarnacion with runners on second and third to end the eighth. Kelvin Herrera allowed a two-out single in the ninth, but struck out pinch-hitter Austin Jackson for his 10th save.
Jose Ramirez hit a two-out homer in the second. Lindor, Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana had RBIs in Cleveland’s three-run third, but starter Mike Clevinger couldn’t hold the lead.
Both homers came off Clevinger, who is replacing injured staff ace Corey Kluber in the rotation.
Both teams were rained out Thursday — the Indians at home against Cincinnati and the Royals in New York. Clevinger and Royals starter Ian Kennedy had their starts moved back a day.
Clevinger allowed four runs in five-plus innings and a change could be coming soon in Cleveland’s rotation. Kluber made his first minor league rebab start Friday, throwing five scoreless innings for Double-A Akron.
Kennedy allowed four runs in five innings and remained winless since Sept. 11.
For the second time this month, a squirrel ran on the field but play was not interrupted. The squirrel scurried around the outfield during the bottom of the sixth before being shooed through a doorway in the center field wall by ballpark workers after the inning.
Being unable to hold the lead was the most disappointing part of the night for Clevinger.
“It feels like you’re letting down your family in there (the clubhouse),” he said. “They had something going and I slowed it down. Not just slowed it down but gave up the lead.”
Royals: LHP Scott Alexander (strained right hamstring) began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Omaha. The reliever has been on the 10-day DL since May 9.
Indians: Jackson (strained left toe) was activated from the 10-day DL on Friday. He was out since May 2.
Royals: LHP Jason Vargas makes his 10th start of the season, his most since 2014.
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar will pitch on five days’ rest as a result of Thursday’s rainout.