KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The race for the AL Central title got another wrinkle Sunday night when Cleveland’s game at Kansas City was suspended in the 10th inning.
The Indians grabbed a 4-2 lead on pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall’s two-out, two-run double, but rain prevented the teams from playing the bottom half of the inning. It was shelved after a 58-minute delay.
The game will resume Sept. 22 in Cleveland before the start of the last scheduled series between the teams.
“It’s kind of a weird feeling, the game’s not over, but I’d rather have the lead,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “As weird as it is, you put this in your rearview mirror and move on quickly, and then we’ll figure it out once the time comes around.
“I think the umpires had a game at 1 o’clock in St. Louis and I think they’re just trying to make the best decision they could. One school of thought was to wait until 11:45 and maybe play in the rain. We’ll do whatever they tell us to do, but you can’t control the weather.”
Both 10th-inning runs were unearned after first baseman Billy Butler fumbled Jason Kipnis’ one hopper. Chisenhall drove an 0-2 pitch from closer Greg Holland off the right-field wall to score both runs.
“It’s not over yet,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Kansas City (74-61) and Detroit were tied for the division lead coming into the day, with Cleveland (70-64) just 3 1/2 games back after winning three straight and six of seven. The addition of the suspended game to their September three-game set just adds to the importance of the series for the Royals and Indians.
“If we’re still in a funk then we’re in trouble,” Yost said. “We’ll find a way to battle through it.”
Detroit lost 6-2 to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, so the Royals lead the Central by a half-game heading into the opener of a three-game series against Texas tonight. The Indians begin a four-game set with the Tigers at home today.
Kansas City had lost three straight and five of seven heading into the series finale against the Indians. But the Royals jumped in front on Alex Gordon’s sacrifice fly in the first inning.
Gordon also went deep in the ninth, tying it at 2 with a leadoff drive against Cody Allen. The closer had converted his previous 17 save chances.
The Indians got an RBI double from Michael Brantley in the third, and Mike Aviles hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth. Yan Gomes had four hits at the time of the suspension.
Danny Duffy allowed two runs, one earned, and five hits in 6 2/3 innings for Kansas City. He struck out six and walked three.
Cleveland left-hander T.J. House threw seven innings of one-run ball. The rookie struck out five and walked none.
“I thought that was his best game,” Francona said. “I thought his stuff was sharp.”
Indians: INF Jesus Aguilar, who hit .303 with 19 home runs and 77 RBIs with Triple-A Columbus, will be among the September call-ups. So will be RHPs Bryan Price and Austin Adams.
Royals: LHP Brandon Finnegan, a 2014 first-round selection who has a 1.33 ERA in 27 professional innings, will be added to the bullpen Tuesday. OFs Terrance Gore, who has 47 steals in 54 attempts this season, and Lane Adams will also be among the promoted players.
The announced attendance of 39,009 was the third Kauffman Stadium sellout this season and the Royals’ largest crowd since 40,103 for the home opener.
Indians: DH-1B Jason Giambi (left knee inflammation) is expected to come off the disabled list today when rosters can be expanded to 40.
Royals: DH-OF Josh Willingham (sore back) was out of the starting lineup.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber (13-8) will start today’s game against Detroit. Kluber, who went 2-2 with a 2.10 ERA in five August starts, is 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA in three starts this season against the Tigers.
Royals: RHP Yordano Ventura (10-9), who has not pitched in nine days because of mid-back tightness, will start today against the Rangers.
WHO: Cleveland vs. Detroit
WHERE: Progressive Field
PITCHERS: Kluber (13-8, 2.52 ERA) vs. Price (12-10, 3.32)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio, ESPN; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM