Pasquantino hits go-ahead sacrifice fly as Royals rally to beat AL Central-rival Guardians, 2-1

Kyle Isbel and Maikel Garcia hit back-to-back triples to start a sixth-inning rally, and Vinnie Pasquantino delivered the go-ahead sacrifice fly that sent the Kansas City Royals to a 2-1 win over the Cleveland Guardians

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kyle Isbel and Maikel Garcia hit back-to-back triples to start a sixth-inning rally, and Vinnie Pasquantino delivered the go-ahead sacrifice fly that sent the Kansas City Royals to a 2-1 win over the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians on Thursday night.

Sam Long (2-1) earned the win in relief, wiggling his way out of Michael Wacha's jam in the sixth and then retiring the side in the seventh. John Schreiber handled the eighth before James McArthur worked a perfect ninth for his 14th save.

Kansas City is eight games behind Cleveland but can make up some ground during this four-game series.

“There's some expectations in this division right now,” Long said. “We're right there with them.”

Ben Lively (7-4) got some help against one of his former teams from a Cleveland defense that turned a pair of double plays to wipe away leadoff singles. The right-hander wound up allowing two runs on six hits and a walk over six innings.

“He was outstanding. Just attacking the zone, efficient with his pitches. Unfortunate there in the sixth, but still got through six,” Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said. “I thought he was great.”

Wacha permitted one run on seven hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings while striking out six.

“I mean, we know the pro he is,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “Just for him to keep pounding the zone — they made him work. I mean, his pitch count got up there. But he just works extremely hard.”

Quatraro watched the go-ahead rally from the clubhouse after he was ejected by third base umpire Tripp Gibson for arguing a call during the fifth inning. Nick Loftin appeared to evade a tag on a grounder by Hunter Renfroe, but Gibson said Loftin went out of the basepath — even though he was never farther outside than if he were rounding third and heading home.

Quatraro argued for a minute, then had turned to walk back to the dugout when Gibson threw him out.

It sure seemed to ignite Kansas City.

The Guardians were clinging to a 1-0 lead Daniel Schneemann provided with his sacrifice fly in the fifth when Isbel led off the sixth with a triple to right field, narrowly beating Schneemann's throw to third. Garcia followed with his own triple to right field, sliding in just ahead of Schneemann's throw again and tying the game.

Pasquantino followed two batters later with a sacrifice fly to send Kansas City to its third win in four games.

Both teams squandered plenty of chances. The Guardians left the bases loaded in the second inning and again in the sixth, and stranded nine runners in all. And the Royals had leadoff singles in three straight innings but nothing to show for them.

“We should have scored more runs tonight. Wish we could have,” Vogt said, “but these nights happen.”

HELP ON THE WAY

The Guardians agreed to a deal Thursday with LHP Matthew Boyd, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the 33-year-old Boyd, who underwent reconstructive elbow surgery last year, must still pass a physical. He went 5-5 with a 5.45 ERA in 15 starts for Detroit last season.

ROSTER MOVES

The Guardians placed OF Will Brennan (rib inflammation) on the injured list, retroactive to Tuesday. They recalled INF José Tena and RHP Darren McCaughan from Triple-A Columbus. RHP Xzavion Curry was optioned to the same club Wednesday night.

UP NEXT

Cleveland RHP Triston McKenzie (3-4, 4.66 ERA) faces Kansas City RHP Alec Marsh (5-5, 4.40) on Friday night.

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