Kyle Davies had a three-run lead and was five outs away from his first career shutout Thursday night when it all fell apart in a 7-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium.
It was crushing turnaround that snatched a victory from Davies and prevented the Royals from completing a sweep in the three-game series
Cleveland roused itself for five runs and seven hits against Davies, who got a no-decision, and relievers Blake Wood and Dusty Hughes.
The Indians added two more runs in the ninth inning against rookie Greg Holland.
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What made it all the more remarkable is the Indians appeared comatose through seven innings, particularly on defense.
They finished with a season-high five errors, which doesn't include a brain camp by first baseman Matt LaPorta in settling for one out on what appeared a certain double play.
It didn't matter.
Cleveland's seven hits in the eighth inning were all singles, including one by LaPorta that served as the game's turning point. He battled Davies through 13 pitches, nine of which he fouled off, before delivering a single that produced Cleveland's first run.
It opened the flood gates.
OK, let's reset. Davies carried a four-hit shutout into the eighth and retired the first hitter before Trevor Crowe stroked a one-out single and went to second on a wild pitch.
LaPorta was next and, to that point, had experienced a dreadful night. Nothing for two at the plate and two notable defensive misplays at first base. But he turned everything around by outlasting Davies and lining an RBI single into center.
When Jason Donald followed with a single through the left side, manager Ned Yost summoned reliever Wood, who had not allowed a run in his last eight outings.
That streak ended here.
Pinch-hitter Shelley Duncan greeted Wood with a soft single into right that pulled the Indians to within 3-2 and put runners on first and third with one out. A walk to Michael Brantley loaded the bases.
Asdrubal Cabrera tied the game with a sacrifice fly to center — and only a diving catch by Gregor Blanco prevented extra bases.
Shin-Soo Choo followed with an RBI single on a grounder though the right side, and Cleveland led 4-3. That finished Wood but not the Indians.
Travis Hafner's grounder into the left-side hole against Hughes turned into an RBI single for a 5-3 lead. An infield single Jayson Nix reloaded the bases before Hughes struck out Crowe.
An amazing turnaround.
Davies recorded 14 outs on grounders in his 7 1/3 innings. He retired 12 hitters in a row at one point and finished with five strikeouts and no walks in a 108-pitch performance. He was in complete command until the eighth.
Cleveland starter Mitch Talbot escaped with a no-decision after allowing three runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
The Royals built their 3-0 lead by scoring once in the fifth and twice in the sixth.
The first run scored on LaPorta's wild throw to the plate on Mitch Maier's one-out grounder with the bases loaded in the fifth.
A throwing error by Talbot in the sixth preceded Wilson Betemit's two-run single on a two-out bloop to left with the bases loaded.
The Royals missed numerous other opportunities in stranding 12 runners and going three for 15 with runners in scoring position. And it cost them.