7/25/2014 1:46 A.M. ET
Moustakas notches 'Little League homer' vs. Tribe
By Jackson Alexander / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Mike Moustakas crossed home plate giddy and bemused, with a group of Royals waiting to greet him atop the steps of the dugout.
Conversely, Indians starter Corey Kluber stood idly behind home plate, a perplexed look on his face as he attempted to contemplate what he had just witnessed.
Kluber started the eighth inning having allowed just one hit and with eight strikeouts to his credit. He flirted with perfection, sitting down the first 19 Royals.
But in the bottom of the eighth, with one out and the game scoreless, Moustakas lofted a ball down the left-field line that left fielder Ryan Raburn chased. Raburn tracked it down and made a diving attempt. He came up empty as the ball slid out of his glove, and trickled into foul territory.
Third-base umpire Paul Emmel waved his right arm, signaling fair ball, and Moustakas ambled into second with a double.
"It was a little unusual, honestly, I thought it was going to go foul, just by the swing he took and being left-handed. … I was surprised it stayed fair," Kluber said.
Raburn retrieved the ball, and attempted to fire it back to the infield. But he couldn't pick a target, as Cleveland's infielders were in the process of readjusting to the shift placed on Moustakas.
"As I came up to throw it to the infield, my infielders started taking off toward third base, [I] tried to hold up, and [I] couldn't hold up," Raburn said.
His throw never reached the infield, not even close. Raburn bungled the toss and the ball trickled into left field. It settled in no-man's land, close to the spot Raburn occupied before running after Moustakas' fly ball.
"When I saw the ball kind of floating in left field, I just tried to do what I could to get over to third, and [the third-base coach] waved me and I just went home. I really didn't see what went on behind me, I was just running as hard as I could to score," Moustakas said.
By the time Raburn tracked down his gaffe, Moustakas had already stomped on home plate to score the game's first run.
"I think I was more mad than [Kluber] was. … I don't think there was anyone that felt worse than I did," Raburn said.
Indians manager Terry Francona explained that his team followed the process correctly, but simply didn't execute.
"Ray made a really good effort," Francona said. "Some good things were happening, but the end result wasn't [good]. Because we were shifting and [third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall] saw that [Raburn] didn't catch it, Lonnie sprinted back to third, so when Ray came up to throw, he tried to hold up, and the ball came out of his hand.
"It's fluky and it cost us a run, but it was just a bunch of guys trying hard to get in the right place," Francona said.
Kluber shook off his initial bewilderment, recovering to complete nine innings and took a no-decision in the Royals' 2-1, 14-inning win.
"It's one of those things, there's some weird stuff happens in this game, and [that was] just one of those plays," Kluber said.
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.