Kila Ka'aihue, starting his first game, got his first Major League hit. Devon Lowery, making his Major League debut, pitched a scoreless inning.
But the Royals, after winning their first three games in September, were knocked off by the Indians, 9-3, on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Ka'aihue, who won his way to Kansas City by slugging a combined 37 homers between Double-A and Triple-A this season, blooped a single into right field in his third at-bat. And he scored for the first time, too, in the Royals' three-run seventh against reliever Tom Mastny.
"My heart is still racing a little bit," Ka'aihue said afterward. "But it's good to get that first one out of the way."
Lowery's heart was pitter-pattering, too, even though he's in eighth year of professional pitching.
"This is different," Lowery said. "This is a lot different. This is 20,000-more-people different," he said.
If nothing else, the 21,107 fans got a little glimpse of the Royals' future along with the postgame fireworks display.
Ka'aihue, who made his debut Thursday as a pinch-runner, started at first base and got his first at-bat in the third inning. His looper toward the left-field line was run down beautifully by shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
Ka'aihue flied out to right in his second at-bat. And, in his third try, he thought he was out again.
"Here we go again. Another blooper, another bleeder off my hands. I didn't think it was going to fall," Ka'aihue said. "I mean, Peralta made a heck of a play the first time, and the second one was just a floater out to right. But I thought [there was] no way was that third one was going to fall."
Second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera rushed out, right fielder Franklin Gutierrez rushed in and, thud, the ball dropped right between them. Ka'aihue scored later on Jose Guillen's two-run double.
Ka'aihue also rolled out in the ninth and finished the game 1-for-4. His hit was a moment to remember.
"I got the ball and everybody was real happy for me. They all came up and congratulated me. Guys on the other team did. Everybody was real nice about it," he said.
Lowery was the fifth Royals pitcher into the fray, and he was feeling his moment, too.
"[I had] a lot of nerves, I know that," Lowery said. "Coming into a lopsided game where your team's down, you want to minimize the damage. And coming in my first game and you're facing the Cleveland Indians -- a good lineup -- I just wanted to go out there and throw strikes,"
That he did pretty well, although the Tribe made Lowery work by fouling off 11 pitches. He faced just four batters but threw 31 pitches, including 20 strikes.
Lowery began the eighth inning by striking out Gutierrez. Cabrera fouled out to catcher Miguel Olivo. Grady Sizemore walked in a 10-pitch at-bat. Then Jamey Carroll looked at strike three.
"They're Major League hitters and they expect to hit the ball. They fought off a lot of pitches, and luckily, I was able to get out of it," Lowery said.
Lowery was one of 11 pitchers who worked in the game. Indians starter Anthony Reyes left after three scoreless innings with a sore right elbow.
Royals starter Brandon Duckworth gave up two runs in the second inning, then was lifted during an Indians barrage in the fifth.
"That fifth inning, it just seemed [like it was] single, single, single," Duckworth said.
And it was. In fact, the Indians had seven successive singles and five runs before the first out was recorded in the inning.
Cabrera, Sizemore and Carroll each singled to score a run off Duckworth before he was excused. Joel Peralta gave up singles by David Dellucci, Jhonny Peralta and Victor Martinez, each driving in a run, and he was relieved by another September callup, Yasuhiko Yabuta. Shin-Soo Choo rapped an RBI single before Ryan Garko finally bounced into a double play. Another run scored on the double play, making it a six-run inning.
Two of the singles went off Ka'aihue's glove.
"I should have made both those plays," he said. "They were one-hoppers. One I kind of lost between one of the runners in front of me, but they were both plays I should have made and it would've got us out of the inning a lot faster."
But the Royals' September streak, those three wins over Oakland, was history. Even so, two of their September callups managed to make a little history of their own.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less