KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Corey Kluber took a perfect game into the seventh inning, and couldn’t have pitched much better.
But all Kluber had to show for his performance was a no-decision in the Cleveland Indians’ 2-1, 14-inning loss to the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.
“Kluber has come a long way from last year,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “This guy is All-Star caliber. He’s developed into one of the best starting pitchers in the American League. You know that you’re not going to score a bunch of runs off him.”
Nori Aoki singled home Lorenzo Cain in the 14th inning to lift the Royals to the victory.
Kluber held Kansas City to two hits, retiring the first 19 batters he faced before Omar Infante, who was in a 0-for-16 skid, lined a single to center with one out in the seventh.
“That’s part of the game,” Kluber said. “There are times you don’t pitch well and your team picks you up. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re aggressive. With aggressive teams ,if you execute your pitches you can have success.
“I got in a good groove, and when they got a runner on we were able to catch him stealing. In the end it’s just one game. We’ll come back tomorrow and try to win the game.”
Kluber, who lowered his earned run average to 2.77, was attempting to win his fourth consecutive start for the first time in his career.
“I wish we’d had some runs so we could sit back and really enjoy it, because that was special,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Kluber’s outfit. “You can use all the adjectives you want. He had dominating stuff.”
Cain opened the 14th with an infield single and stole second before Aoki delivered the winning hit off John Axford.
Aaron Crow (5-1), the seventh Kansas City pitcher, earned the victory – striking out the side in a perfect 14th.
Left-hander Marc Rzepcynski (0-3), who gave up the hit to Cain, took the loss.
Mike Moustakas doubled and scored on a throwing error by left fielder Ryan Raburn in the eighth inning to give the Royals a 1-0 lead.
Moustakas hit a fly ball down the left-field line that Raburn nearly caught. When Raburn tracked down the ball in foul territory, he spiked a throw that rolled into center field.
“If it was a game where we were way ahead, we’d have had a good laugh about it,” Raburn said. “With the way the game was playing out I don’t think anybody was more mad than I was.”
The Indians tied it in the ninth off Greg Holland, who blew his second save in 28 chances. Holland walked Carlos Santana leading off the inning, and pinch-hitter Chris Dickerson bunted him to second. Yan Gomes’ two-out single to center scored Santana.
After Infante’s hit, Kluber got out of the inning when Alex Gordon struck out, and Infante was thrown out trying to steal second.
Kluber, who allowed only one unearned run in nine innings, struck out 10 and walked none.
Royals starter Danny Duffy, who was 1-5 in his previous six starts, gave up two singles – both to Santana – in seven scoreless innings. Duffy, who also walked two, was pulled after 108 pitches.
Duffy lowered his earned run average to 2.47. He is the only American League pitcher with a losing record with an ERA less than three.
NOTES: The Royals sent Jimmy Paredes, who was designated for assignment on July 16, to the Orioles for cash considerations. Paredes appeared in nine games with Kansas City, going 2-for-10. He hit .305 with Triple-A Omaha. … Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera wasn’t in the lineup for the third consecutive game because of back spasms. … Royals 1B Eric Hosmer was held out of the lineup for the third time in four games with a right hand bruise. He entered in the ninth inning as a defensive replacement. … Aoki was the DH for the first time in his career. … The Indians plan to recall RHP Zach McAllister from Triple-A Columbus, where he is 5-0 with a 2.23 ERA in six starts, and start him Saturday against the Royals.