Well, the Detroit Tigers weren't going to win every game in September. Though after that weekend sweep in Tampa, it's understandable if you were beginning to feel that way.
Continuing the "all good things must come to an end theme," Rick Porcello hit a bit of a speed bump against the Royals. After allowing just three runs in his past two starts, Kid Rick was knocked around a bit, giving up four runs and seven hits in six innings of work.
The main problem was that Porcello's off-speed stuff wasn't quite as sharp as it's been recently. Leaving pitches up in the strike zone means the ball gets hit in the air, and that's not when Porcello's at his best.
But it's hard to stick this one on Porcello, when the bullpen allowed three runs in the later innings and outfielders missed balls that gave the Royals extra chances to get key hits. Kid Rick left with a one-run lead largely due to Ryan Raburn misjuding Josh Anderson's line drive in the fifth, letting the ball get over his head when he took a step in.
Then in the seventh, with Ryan Perry one strike away from ending the inning, Clete Thomas just missed getting to Billy Butler's foul ball in the right-field corner. Sure, you could say Thomas had a long way to run, and he was worried about the oncoming wall. But that was a catchable ball, and the look on Thomas's face said he knew it.
Butler took advantage of the extra chance, smacking a single to left to tie the game at 5-5. Perry then followed up by leaving a fastball out over the plate (a 99 m.p.h. pitch, mind you), which Mike Jacobs was able to slap to left for a RBI single and the lead.
And after three games in which the Tigers were able to rally against the Tampa Bay Rays bullpen, Kansas City's relief corps kept Detroit off the board for four-plus innings. Somehow, Yasuhiko Yabuta, who came into the game with an 18.00 ERA, pitched 2.1 shutout innings while the Royals staged their comeback. And though the Tigers managed two singles against Joakim Soria in the ninth to mount a threat, Soria got the strikeouts when they counted.
Though Raburn's defensive miscue cost the Tigers in the fifth, he also did plenty to try and get his team a win. Raburn went 3-for-4, with a homer and two runs scored. And in that seventh inning, with the Royals threatening to tie the game, he gunned down Yuniesky Betancourt at home plate. (And that was despite not getting the ball out of his glove cleanly.)
Comment of the Night:
Where's Grant Balfour when you need him?