KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals waited out a lengthy rain delay, and then another delay when the stadium lights went out. They also had to watch outfielder Alex Gordon walk off with a scary head injury.
They weren’t about to go through all that just to lose.
Eric Hosmer hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning, and the Royals held on to beat the Cleveland Indians 6-5 on a wild Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
“You endure everything we had to endure tonight and not get the win, it would put you in a pretty grumpy mood,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Hosmer connected with two outs off Cody Allen (3-1), one inning after Gordon collided with the bullpen fence while tracking a fly ball. The Gold Glove outfielder remained down on the warning track for several minutes before slowly standing up and walking off the field.
Gordon said afterward that he couldn’t remember everything that happened on the play.
“I kind of got off balance and that’s when I fell into the wall,” he said. “I watched the whole game, the great comeback, and Hos hit the home run. It was a huge comeback.”
Will Smith (1-1) pitched 1 2-3 innings of scoreless relief, and Greg Holland managed the ninth to help Kansas City snap a three-game skid against the Indians.
Holland worked around an error by shortstop Alicdes Escobar for his 18th save.
“You’re here this long,” Smith said, “you might as well win the game.”
Jason Kipnis ended up with a three-run, inside-the-park homer on the play that Gordon was injured, extending his hitting streak to 14 games. But the bullpen failed to hold the 3-1 lead, ultimately snapping Cleveland’s five-game winning streak.
“As exciting as it was to see Kip run the bases, it’s hard not to worry,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “(Gordon) plays so hard and is such a good player.”
The start of the game was delayed 2 hours, 37 minutes by a stubborn rain cloud that refused to budge from over the stadium, even though there were clear skies not more than a mile away.
The delay caused more problems in the seventh inning, when the clock hit midnight. A glitch in the stadium computer system caused about half of the lights to go out, and it took 12 minutes for them to cool enough to come back on and allow play to resume.
The Royals carried a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning in what was shaping up as a tidy pitching duel between Jeremy Guthrie and Indians counterpart Scott Kazmir.
Michael Bourn and Asdrubal Cabrera led off the sixth with singles, and Kipnis hit a fly ball deep to left field. Gordon was tracking it the whole way but slammed his head into the fencing of the Royals bullpen as he leaped for the ball, crashing into a heap on the warning track.
He remained down while Kipnis rounded the bases for the Indians’ first inside-the-park homer since Jhonny Peralta toured the bases against Detroit on July 18, 2010.
Gordon was eventually helped from the field by Royals trainer Nick Kenney. The team said he had a possible concussion and a bruised right hip, and he will be evaluated again on Thursday.
“We’ll just monitor it day to day,” Yost said.
The Royals regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth, pecking away with five singles and taking advantage of a wild throw on a pickoff attempt. The error was given to first baseman Nick Swisher and allowed Lorenzo Cain to score from third, giving Kansas City a 5-3 lead.
That lead also turned out to be short-lived.
After the lights went out and were finally restored, Guthrie promptly walked Ryan Raburn and Yan Gomes. The right-hander was lifted for Smith, who yielded a run-scoring single by Bourn and a tying sacrifice fly by Cabrera but recovered to keep the game tied.
“It’s one of those games that keep going back and forth, back and forth,” Kazmir said.
Hosmer put the Royals ahead to stay in the seventh inning. The first baseman turned on a 1-0 pitch and sent it soaring into the night.
Holland struck out Mark Reynolds, and after Escobar’s error he got Jason Giambi to fly out and Bourn to strike out shortly after 1 a.m. CT to end the game.
“I think it just showed our competitiveness more than anything else,” Yost said. “They don’t stop. They keep coming. They keep competing and fighting.”