POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 25, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Mo. » After 4 hours, 23 minutes and a dozen pitchers combining to throw 397 pitches, Nori Aoki gave the Kansas City Royals a win.
Aoki singled home Lorenzo Cain in the 14th inning to lift the Royals to a 2-1 victory over Cleveland after Indians starter Corey Kluber carried a perfect game into the seventh inning on Thursday night.
Cain opened the 14th with an infield single and stole second before Aoki delivered the winning hit off John Axford on a full-count pitch with one out.
"I was just trying to stay aggressive," Aoki said. "It wasn't like I was trying to go the other way or anything like that. I was just looking for a pitch to hit, and if I got that pitch, swing hard."
Aoki was mobbed by his teammates at second base.
"It was one of the best feelings, and hopefully we have more of those moments the rest of the season," he said.
Aaron Crow (5-1), the seventh Kansas City pitcher, earned the victory — striking out the side in a perfect 14th.
Left-hander Marc Rzepcynski (0-3), who gave up the hit to Cain, took the loss.
Kluber held the Royals to two hits, retiring the first 19 batters he faced before Omar Infante, who was in a 0-for-16 skid, lined a single to center with one out in the seventh.
"I think it's hard to rate one performance against another," Kluber said. "I got in a good groove, and when they got a runner on we were able to catch him stealing."
Mike Moustakas doubled and scored on a throwing error by left fielder Ryan Raburn in the eighth inning to give the Royals a 1-0 lead. Moustakas hit a fly ball down the left-field line that Raburn nearly caught.
When Raburn tracked down the ball in foul territory, he spiked a throw that rolled into center field.
"How about that," Moustakas said. "I got a 2-0 fastball that I popped up to left, and Raburn tried to make a good play on it and it ended up hitting off his arm or shoulder.
"I just saw him drop it. I was headed to second. I saw him try to throw the ball in, and I just started running to third base. When I saw the ball kind of floating in left field and doing what I can to get over to third, and Jirsch (third base coach Mike Jirschele) waved me in."
Raburn was miffed about how the play unfolded.
"It was a freak play," he said. "I was trying to hold up."