CINCINNATI -- Ned Yost made seven pitching changes and got to thinking about which position player might take the mound if the game kept going.
Felt like he was back in the National League all over again.
The former Milwaukee Brewers manager used his entire bullpen to prevent the Cincinnati Reds from pulling off yet another last-minute win Friday night, and Yuniesky Betancourt completed his big game with a run-scoring single in the 11th inning, sending the Kansas City Royals to a 6-5 interleague win.
"That was National League ball right there," said Yost, who took over when Trey Hillman was fired last month. "We pulled every string we could pull to try to win that game, and it worked out good. Everybody had a part in this one tonight. I had one player left and I was saving him in case I had to pitch a position player."
Betancourt let the Royals -- who arrived in town at 3 a.m. -- finally relax. He had an RBI double and a two-run homer that put Kansas City up 5-4.
"He killed us all night," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We had plenty of opportunities. It's tough, especially when you've been so good at picking up baserunners."
The Reds lead the majors in comeback wins, pulling out 12 of them in their last at-bat. They tied it in the eighth, but stranded runners in scoring position in each of the last three innings.
Micah Owings (3-2) set up the Royals' final rally by walking Billy Butler and Brayan Pena, who is only 2-for-18 this season. Betancourt singled to center, breaking the tie with the Royals' first hit since his homer in the sixth inning.
"It was a long game for both teams," said Butler, who scored when Drew Stubbs' off-line throw was cut off. "We had a late night getting here. I was doing all I could to score there."
Victor Marte (1-0) escaped a two-on threat in the 10th. Joakim Soria retired Scott Rolen on a sharply hit fly ball with runners on first and third to end it, getting his 15th save in 17 tries. Soria was the Royals' eighth pitcher.
Despite the loss, Cincinnati remained in first place in the NL Central. The Reds haven't led so late in a season since June 17, 2002, when they were playing at Cinergy Field.
This year, they are at the best when the game's near the end. They rallied to make this one go extra long before Owings' control problems let it slip. He walked two ahead of Betancourt's decisive single.
The Royals' Blake Wood failed to hold a 5-4 lead in the eighth, when the Reds loaded the bases with no outs. Brandon Phillips, whose eighth-inning triple set up another last at-bat win over the Giants on Thursday, got the rally started with a single that extended the longest active hitting streak in the majors to 14 games.
Hochevar gave up four runs in four innings, then was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the fifth with the Royals down 4-1 and the lack of a DH coming into play. Yost decided to bat Wilson Betemit with runners on second and third and one out. Hochevar had thrown only 68 pitches -- his fewest in a game this season -- but is 0-for-8 career at the plate with seven strikeouts.
The moved worked. Betemit drew a walk from Bronson Arroyo that loaded the bases, and Scott Podsednik singled home a run that cut it to 4-2. Another scored when Jason Kendall grounded into a forceout at second base -- umpire Tim Welke started to call Kendall out at first base as well for a double play but then changed his mind and waved his arms in the "safe" signal.
Betancourt hit a two-run homer off Arroyo in the sixth for a 5-4 lead.
"I was cruising through four innings," Arroyo said. "That deep in the game, that's a lead I shouldn't give up, especially with as good of command as I had. You can't give back a four-run lead."
Kendall extended his hitless streak to 0-for-19. ... Reds right-hander Homer Bailey had to skip a bullpen workout Friday because of soreness in his pitching shoulder. Bailey has been on the 15-day DL since May 24 with an inflamed pitching shoulder. The setback leaves the timing of his comeback uncertain. ... Right-hander Edinson Volquez, recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery last August, is scheduled to make his first rehab start Saturday at Class A. Volquez is nearing the end of his 50-game suspension for using a banned fertility substance.