KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Óscar González hit a two-run double in the 10th inning and the Cleveland Guardians snapped a five-game losing streak, beating the Kansas City Royals 6-5 on Monday night to regain sole possession of the AL Central lead.
Cleveland moved a game ahead of Minnesota, which lost 5-2 to the New York Yankees. The third-place Chicago White Sox are one game behind the Twins.
Josh Naylor homered for the Guardians, and Andrés Giménez scored twice.
Cleveland starter Triston McKenzie acknowledged the victory was a relief for the Guardians.
“We talked a little about it on the bus last night,” he said. “We haven’t been playing our best baseball. We all know it. It hasn’t dimmed our light. We’re still going to go out and play hard.”
Drew Waters hit his first major league home run for Kansas City, and Salvador Perez’s one-out RBI double in the eighth tied it at 4.
Eli Morgan (5-3) won in relief, and Emmanuel Clase earned his 31st save in 33 opportunities. He allowed a run in the 10th but stranded the potential tying run at first base.
“Getting the second run is probably more important,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said about González’s clutch hit. “They’re going to start with the guy on second just like we did.”
With the automatic runner on second, Kansas City walked José Ramírez to begin the 10th. One out later, González doubled to deep center field off Carlos Hernández (0-5).
“I faced him a couple of times in the minors, so I knew how he attacked me in the past. I just tried to put the ball in play,” González said.
Cleveland had an opportunity in extra innings Sunday against Seattle but couldn’t come through after the opposing pitcher walked Ramírez with the automatic runner on second.
This time, González delivered.
“I get it,” Francona said. “José is one of the best hitters in the game and you’re setting up the double play. I totally get it. It was nice to see guys come through.”
The Guardians scored two runs on four singles in the second. Giménez and Tyler Freeman had one-out singles before Austin Hedges’ sacrifice back to starter Brady Singer scored Giménez. Myles Straw then singled with two outs to score Freeman.
McKenzie cruised through four innings, but the Royals reached him for a couple of runs in the fifth. Michael Massey worked a walk and scored on Waters’ 400-foot shot to the Royals’ bullpen in right field.
Before the game, Francona was asked which of the Royals’ seven rookie position players he was most impressed with. He said Waters had the best skill set.
Naylor gave the Guardians the lead back with a leadoff home run in the fifth, a 421-foot drive to right-center.
Giménez then scored an unearned run. He doubled and went to third on Singer’s wild pickoff attempt before coming home on a sacrifice fly by Freeman.
Michael A. Taylor’s sacrifice fly in the sixth drew the Royals within a run and ended McKenzie’s night.
Guardians: RHP Aaron Civale, on the injured list since Aug. 30 with right forearm inflammation, played catch. Francona said he’d see how Civale responds Tuesday, but he thinks Civale may be ready to long-toss soon.
Royals: RHP Zack Greinke, on the injured list with right forearm tightness, might return soon. “He’s good to go,” manager Mike Matheny said.
The teams continue their three-game series Tuesday night when Guardians RHP Shane Bieber (8-8, 3.06 ERA) faces LHP Kris Bubic (2-10, 5.47).