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Royals-Indians suspended after rain arrives in KC

Cleveland leading, 4-2, in 10th inning in game to be completed Sept. 22

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KANSAS CITY -- It was a game that had just about everything. A stadium jammed by a sellout crowd. A dramatic comeback via a home run in the ninth inning. A crucial error in the 10th inning.

Just one important aspect was missing: A conclusion.

The Kansas City-Cleveland game was suspended midway through the 10th inning on Sunday night because of rain after the Indians had taken a 4-2 lead.

About an hour later, Major League officials in New York decided to suspend the game and finish it on Sept. 22, before the two teams meet in a scheduled game at Cleveland.

If nothing else, that enabled the Royals to move into sole possession of first place in the American League Central by one-half game over Detroit. That's because the Tigers lost to the White Sox earlier in the day.

"Bizarre game," said the Royals' home run hero, Alex Gordon. "But it hasn't ended yet."

It was Gordon who made the sellout crowd of 39,009 go bonkers when he led off the Royals' ninth inning with a home run that pulled them into a 2-2 tie. The roar was deafening.

The blow came off Indians closer Cody Allen, ending his string of 17 straight save conversions.

"Allen has got electric stuff," Gordon said. "His curveball is hard to hit, so I was trying to sit on a good fastball. I got in a hitter's count and was looking for one, and just found one."

Gordon sent the ball soaring over the right-center-field wall 414 feet away, his 18th this season and reminiscent of his walk-off blast that provided a 2-1 win over Minnesota just last Tuesday.

The game-tying homer came after the Royals once again slogged through a tough offensive effort. This was the sixth time in their last eight games that they'd scored two or fewer runs.

Collectively, the Royals are in a slump.

"We've been through these things before," said manager Ned Yost. "We've just got to find a way to battle through it and get a big hit. I was hoping Gordy's big hit would be it, but we'll find out in three weeks if it was."

The euphoria over Gordon's home run was short-lived.

Closer Greg Holland was called on to pitch the top of the 10th and he got two outs. Then Jason Kipnis hit a bouncer toward first base. Holland gave chase but the ball skipped to first baseman Billy Butler and off his hands for an error.

"On that play, it was a tweener, and Greg almost had it and then he didn't have it," Butler said. "I just kind of rushed it and it fell off my glove. It was one of those plays where you've got to be quick. It just bounced off my glove, I tried to flip it before I caught it. I took my eye off it for a second."

Kipnis was safe and Yan Gomes lined a single -- his fourth hit -- into center field and Kipnis reached third base. Lonnie Chisenhall pinch-hit for Mike Aviles and cracked a double off the right-field wall, scoring both runners.

As Holland got the third out, wind from an approaching storm sent papers flying out of the stands and across the field. Only a few drops of rain fell, but the umpires immediately called for the tarpaulin and the infield was covered. About 10 minutes later, a deluge hit and settled in for a long stay.

About an hour later the game was suspended. The Indians hurriedly headed for the airport, hoping to take off for Cleveland, where they were scheduled for a Labor Day late-afternoon game against Detroit.

"It's kind of a weird feeling, the game's not over, but I'd rather have the lead," Indians manager Terry Francona said.

Afterward, Yost pondered the developments that unfolded in the last three innings.

"We had a play that could've gotten [Holland] out of the inning right there, and we couldn't make a play for him. But they took advantage of a miscue," Yost said.

Then the manager recalled the Royals' eighth, when Alcides Escobar singled with one out, stole second base and continued to third base on catcher Roberto Perez's throwing error. Escobar was perched at third with the potential tying run, but Nori Aoki tapped out and Omar Infante struck out.

"They made a miscue when Esky stole second, and we couldn't capitalize on that," Yost said. "And then Alex Gordon's home run is the game-winner instead of the game-tier."

Prior to the last three innings, the earlier part of the game was rather normal. Royals starter Danny Duffy and Indians starter T.J. House were immersed in a left-handed duel.

The Royals scored one run in the first inning as Aoki and Infante both singled, and Gordon then lofted a sacrifice fly.

But the Tribe got that run back in the third on two walks and Michael Brantley's two-out double. And in the fourth, Gomes singled, got to third on Duffy's wild pickoff throw and then scored Aviles' sacrifice fly.

Duffy knew full well that Gomes had not stolen a base all season and was an unlikely threat, but he didn't lament his decision to throw over.

"I wasn't really super-upset about the pickoff attempt, because he was flat-footed, and if I make a good throw, I have him," Duffy said.

Another thing that Duffy won't forget is the support the sellout crowd provided on Sunday night.

"It was amazing. They did an excellent job of supporting us," Duffy said. "I'm proud of our fans, I'm proud of the way they came out and supported us. I always am -- they're an amazing fan base. They're the best fan base on the planet."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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