Brad Hand’s sublime season came to stunning end.
For once, the Royals mustered some late-game magic.
Hunter Dozier’s grand slam capped Kansas City’s five-run rally in the ninth inning off Hand, Cleveland’s previously perfect All-Star closer, as the Royals rallied for an 8-6 win over the Indians on Tuesday night.
Hand (4-3) had been 22 for 22 in save chances and is likely on his way to being selected to represent the Indians when they host the All-Star game at Progressive Field next month.
But the left-hander did not record an out against the Royals, who entered the ninth down 6-3 before storming back.
The Royals had been 0-42 when trailing after eight innings before recording their biggest ninth-inning comeback in two years.
Nicky Lopez had an RBI infield single before Kansas City loaded the bases and Dozier connected on Hand’s first pitch – a slider – for his first career grand slam and 13th homer.
Hand looked shaky from the outset, and was pulled after allowing five hits in just 13 pitches.
Hand offered no excuses, saying he wasn’t tired despite pitching five times in the past six days.
Kevin McCarthy (2-1) pitched the eighth and stumbled into a win, and Ian Kennedy worked the ninth for his 10th save, striking out Carlos Santana with a runner at second for the final out.
Tyler Naquin hit a two-run homer and Santana, Roberto Perez and Mike Freeman had solo shots for the Indians, who were three outs away from their fifth straight win before Hand imploded.