KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The easy explanation for the 60th loss of this Royals season was a grand slam by Cleveland's Yan Gomes.
But a series of smaller self-inflicted blows preceding the blast, along with a key base-running mistake, and that proved damaging to the Royals in a 6-4 defeat at Kauffman Stadium.
"When you're playing good, you cover mistakes," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Right now, we're just struggling to cover mistakes and then when we don't cover them, we can't find ways to back it up with the bats and cover it. That's why you struggle."
And, whew, the Royals are scuffling. They are 25-60, have dropped 24 of 29 games since the start of June, and are on pace to lose 114 games.
Things went south in the sixth inning on Tuesday when the Royals held a 4-2 lead.
After a laborious start, Royals' left-hander Danny Duffy retired 14 of 16 batters. But designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion drew a walk on five pitches to open the sixth and right fielder Brandon Guyer was slightly grazed by a 2-2 pitch.
First baseman Yonder Alonzo then reached on an infield single to short. Without hitting a ball to the outfield, the Indians had the bases loaded. Gomes unloaded them when he deposited an 0-1 change-up from Duffy into the Indians bullpen.
"I wanted it down, not over the middle of the plate where he could tattoo it," Duffy said. "I wouldn't have gotten into that situation had I not hit Guyer. He's a guy who's seemingly right on the plate and I let one get away. Walked the first, just a weird inning.
"All that could have been avoided if I hadn't made a bad pitch to (Gomes) ... I hate all that bull crap that these things happen but they have happened to us a lot lately."
It was the eighth grand slam the Royals have allowed this season, tying the franchise record with 77 games to be played.
A moribund offense showed signs of life after Duffy allowed two runs in the top of the first inning. DH Lucas Duda's two-run homer to right field scored center fielder Rosell Herrera and tied the game in the Royals' half of the frame. An inning later, Herrera doubled home Adalberto Mondesi and Whit Merrifield and the Royals led 4-2.
It stayed that way until Cleveland took the lead in the sixth.
The next bit of bad news came when the Royals ran themselves out of a run in the eighth inning.
Catcher Salvador Perez was hit by an Oliver Perez pitch to open the frame, and two outs later took second on a single by left fielder Alex Gordon. Cody Allen entered the game and was greeted by a single to center by first baseman Hunter Dozier. The Indians were ready to concede the run when third-base coach Mike Jirschele put up the stop sign after initially waving Perez home.
Perez tried to hit the brakes, but saw the ball was headed to the infield and took off for home. However, the throw from Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor barely beat Perez at the plate.
"Two outs, trailing by two runs, I think the throw would go to second base," Perez said. "He gave me the sign but it was a little late and you guys saw the rest."
Perez said he got to the plate, but knew it was a split-second too late.
"I almost told the umpire, but he called safe," Perez said.
An Indians challenge took the run off the board and ended the inning. The Royals got two on in the ninth, but couldn't get the key hit.
Looking for a positive? The Royals had 12 hits, which snapped a 24-game streak in which they had not collected 10 hits in a game, the longest in the American League since Kansas City did it in 1967. That was the A's, of course, and they would bolt for Oakland after season.
Kennedy on the shelf: Right-hander Ian Kennedy, who was scheduled to start Wednesday's series finale against Cleveland, was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of a strained left oblique. His time on the disabled list is retroactive to June 30, making him eligible to return on July 10.
Moustakas scratched: Third baseman Mike Moustakas was scratched from the lineup shortly before first pitch because of back spasms. Yost said it happened when Moustakas picked up one of his kids.