They partied again in Cleveland on Thursday. They chanted and sang and swayed and bathed in the improbable. They watched a winning streak move to 22 games, the second longest run in the last 101 years.
The Royals were here, too, of course, playing the role of plucky spoilers, potential stoppers, and, finally, history’s casualty in a 3-2 loss in 10 innings at Progressive Field.
One out away from a victory in the bottom of the ninth inning, reliever Kelvin Herrera hurled a 2-2 fastball which Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor slammed off the wall in left field, just past the outstretched glove of Alex Gordon. The double scored the tying run from first base and sparked a thunderous roar inside Progressive Field. The end would come one inning later.
Jose Ramirez opened the bottom of the 10th with a double off Brandon Maurer. Jay Bruce ended it with a run-scoring double down the right field line.
The late collapse wasted a spectacular performance from Royals starter Jakob Junis, who yielded just one run in a cold-blooded 5 2/3 innings. It squandered an opportunistic night from the Kansas City offense, which broke a 1-1 stalemate in the sixth when Eric Hosmer dropped a two-out, RBI double past a sliding Abraham Almonte in left field.
The Royals bullpen weathered 2 1/3 innings and a frenzied atmosphere, building a bridge to the ninth inning. Reliever Ryan Buchter escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the eighth. Yet Herrera, the embattled closer, could not survive the ninth.