The Kansas City Royals continued their mastery over the Detroit Tigers, taking the rubber game of the weekend series with a 5-2 victory. After scoring 16 runs on 26 hits in Friday's series opener, the Tigers had a mere five runs and 11 hits in the final two games combined, both losses.
Bruce Chen dominated the Tigers, holding them to just two runs and five hits in seven innings of work. Greg Holland converted his 40th save by pitching a scoreless ninth.
Doug Fister took the loss. He did pitch into the seventh, but also gave up all five Royals runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings of work.
In a game devoid of much offense, it would be the Royals who would come through with runners in scoring position. Billy Butler started the scoring with a fourth inning single. Eric Hosmer had the game winning hit for the Royals, turning a 2-1 Tigers lead into a 4-2 advantage with a three run homer in the fifth inning. The Royals added an insurance run on Alec Gordon's seventh inning single.
The only Tigers' offense was supplied via Jose Iglesias' two run homer in the third.
On the verge of seeing their division lead cut to the lowest it's been in over a month, the Tigers caught a break when a Mets' ninth inning rally knocked off the Indians. The Tribe's loss allowed the Tigers' lead in the Central to remain at 5 1/2 games. Thanks to the Mets, the Tigers' magic number falls to 15. So at least one good thing came out of today, unless you are fan of the Detroit Lions. Then it's two good things!
The Tigers spent the first couple of innings making Royals' starter Bruce Chen look like Cy Chen, the first six batters going down in order.
apparently the tigers don't want to miss the 4:30 NFL games— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) September 8, 2013
Doug Fister gave up the first hit of the game, a single to Tiger Killer Billy Butler in the second. After Butler was eliminated on a fielder's choice off the bat of Lorenzo Cain, the Tigers snapped their stolen bases allowed streak at one. Alex Avila threw out Cain to end the inning.
The first Tiger to reach base was Avila, singling off Chen with one down in the third. He wouldn't remain on the base paths for long.
In last night's game, the Tigers did little more than hit lazy fly balls. Back in the lineup after missing two game with shin splints, Jose Iglesias continued the trend, but his fly ball wasn't lazy. Far from it. His fly ball carried over the 387 mark in deep left center to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. The two run shot was Iglesias' third of the season, second as a Tiger.
As nice as it was seeing the Tigers take the lead, of more concern was watching Iglesias struggle with his painful shin splints as he circled the bases.
Jebus, Miguel Cabrera could outrun Jose Iglesias. That jog around the bases looked painful.— Al Beaton (@BigAlBYB) September 8, 2013
Given a 2-0 lead, Fister supplied the needed shutdown inning, holding the Royals to a two out Alcides Escobar single in the bottom of the third.
The Tigers went back to wasting scoring opportunities in the fourth. Victor Martinez laced a double to left center with two down. But Andy Dirks went fishing on a big bender well out of the zone, striking out to end the threat.
Bottom of four and tempting the base running Gods, Fister issued a lead off to Emilio Bonifacio. As always, lead off walks never end well.
Eric Hosmer followed the base on balls by looping a single to center. Of course, Butler would come through by bouncing a single through the left side, Bonifacio scoring to make a 2-1 game.
Still no one out, Dirks caught a break. Mike Moustakas should have walked on four pitches (Pitch tracking agreed). Just as Moustakas tossed his bat down and started toward first, home plate umpire Ted Barrett called strike one. Moustakas would then fly out for the first out, this time throwing his bat in frustration. Two down and runners on the corners, George Kottaras through he drew a full count walk on the same sort of pitch which POed Moustakas. As he started toward first, Barnett instead punched him out to end the threat.
Bottom of the fifth, Fister got the first two outs easily. Then the inning proceeded to go to Hell in a hand basket. Alex Gordon didn't hit the ball hard, but in the right spot, Martinez (getting the start at first) getting his glove on the ball, but unable to make a play. Bonifacio followed with a single to right.
Then came a dagger. Two on, two out and two strikes, Fister grooved a 2-2 fastball right down the middle of the plate. Hosmer did with it what big league hitters should - deposit it over the wall. Hosmer crushed a three run homer over the 410 mark in dead center, giving the Royals a 4-2 lead.
Fister had been frustrating as watching the Tigers struggle with the Royals. His issuing a lead off walk led to the first Royals run, their next three on an awful two out, two strike pitch.
Jackson led off the sixth with a double off the left field wall. They proceeded to play the remainder of the inning like a bad Little League team.
Hunter stuck out, his third at bat in two games where he's whiffed with a runner in scoring position. Cabrera followed with a comebacker to Chen. For some reason, Jackson tried to advance to third, Chen firing to Moustakas, who made a nice no-look tag on Jackson for the second out. An infuriating game got that much more infuriating when Fielder left his bat on his shoulder, punched out to end what looked to be a promising inning.
This past week of baseball has been largely annoying— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) September 8, 2013
Fister recovered his mistake to toss a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth. But the Tigers could do absolutely nothing with Cy Chen, who retired the side in order in the top of the seventh.
The Royals had to be thrilled to get a seven inning, two run performance out of their journeyman lefty. They were also thrilled to add an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh.
Fister still in the game for the Tigers, he surrendered a lead off triple to Jarrod Dyson. The tigers held off the inevitable when Escobar bounced to short with the infield in. The left-hand hitting Gordon due up, Jim Leyland called on Phil coke to replace Fister.
Coke didn't allow a hard hit ball, yet the inherited runner still scored. Coke jammed Gordon, but his Texas leaguer dropped in short right for an RBI single to push the Royals' lead to 5-2. Coke's rotten luck continued when Hosmer reached base on a second straight Twins hit, a high chopper over the mound which was good for an infield single.
A black cloud hanging over Coke, Leyland called for Luke Putkonen out of the bullpen. Butler the the ball a long way, but Jackson was able to run the fly ball down on the warning track in right center.
The insurance run was tough to give up, the Tigers now down three runs. But the way the Tigers had been swinging the bats, would a scoreless seventh made any difference?
No. Nope. Nada.
Top of eight and Chen's job done, Ned Yost replaced his starter with Kelvin Herrera. It was just more of the same. The Royals' right-hander shut down the Tigers in a 1-2-3 frame.
The good Al Alburquerque made an appearance. You know, the Alburquerque who throws a wicked slider for strikes? That Alburquerque struck out two while retiring the side in order, ending the eighth inning.
Down three going into the ninth, the meat of the Tigers' order would have to face Royals' closer Greg Holland. There would be no joy on Mudville. Fielder doubled with two out to extend the misery, but Martinez bounced out to end a brutal two games.
Game over. Your final score is Royals 5, Tigers 2.
The Tigers can't get out of KC fast enough. They've dropped all three series played at Kauffman Stadium. At least the Tigers have been more successful against the next opponent, an 8-5 record this season against the White Sox. Unfortunately, tomorrow the Tigers will have to face an even tougher lefty than Danny Duffy and Bruce Chen in Chris Sale.
Losers of four of their last six, the Tigers' record falls to 82-61, dropping their winning percentage to .571. In spite of the loss, it remains the status quo in the division race. The Tigers' lead over the Indians is still 5 1/2, while the Royals are hanging around, all but out of it at seven back.
The Tigers wrap up their penultimate road trip of the season with three games in Chicago. Game one with the White Sox features an elite pitching match up, Max Scherzer facing the aforementioned Sale.
Having already reached career highs in strikeouts and complete games, the White Sox's left-handed ace is on track to do the same in innings pitched during his start against the Tigers. Sale's last appearance against the Tigers was a complete game victory, allowing two runs on nine hits.
This will be Scherzer's third attempt at cracking the 20 win mark, the first two ending in a no-decision and his second loss of the season. In his last start, Scherzer was a victimized by a rare lack of run support, allowing just two runs on five hits over eight innings in a 2-1 loss to the Red Sox. First pitch at the Cell is set for 8:10 PM.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
To put the 2013 season in perspective:
@blessyouboys what a difference a year makes..(2012) tigers 73-65, Cleveland 59-80 This year Det 82-61 Tribe 73-65— jeff (@jeffinkalamazoo) September 8, 2013
Other than that, I got nothing. The Tigers' play against the Royals has been that damn frustrating, as has the current road trip.
And, to be honest, I was watching the Lions game too.
Jose Iglesias: Hitting a home run was all the more impressive after watching his painful looking trek around the bases. The fact Iglesias is still playing great defense is unfathomable if he's in that much pain.
After Iglesias, it's grasping at straws.
Luke Putkonen: Ended a seventh inning jam by retiring Butler.
Al Alburquerque: Struck out two in a scoreless eighth.
Doug Fister: Just as Justin Verlander last night, Fister was very good for long stretches. He also made some God awful pitches which overshadowed the good stretches, such as the grooved fastball to Hosmer.
Torii Hunter: A second straight 0-for-4, including another strikeout with a runner in scoring position with less than two out. Since walking off against the Athletics, Hunter is hitting 162 in his last eight games, lowering his OPS below .800.
The Tigers' offense: Just 11 hits in two games is bad enough. When it's Danny Duffy shutting you down, that's one thing. But Bruce Chen? Come on.
Looking at the roll call, you can definitely tell it's an NFL Sunday.
|Roll Call Info|
|Commenter list||Alex Baker, BadCompany22, BigAl, Cabbylander, DJ Screw, David Tokarz, HookSlide, House by the Side of the Road, Jacob30, Jim O'Dutchmen, Joaquin on Sunshine, MSUDersh, NCDee, SanDiegoMick, Scherzerblueeye, Singledigit, SpartanHT, There Can Only Be One Verlander, Tigerdog1, TomduhB, dominator039, eromnek, frisbeepilot, kland83, lesmanalim, sauce1977, stevenyc, texastigerfan|
TEN 11 COMMENTERS:
|4||Joaquin on Sunshine||50|
|11||There Can Only Be One Verlander||19|
In a loss where the Tigers struggled on offense, the majority of it came from Miguel Cabrera, who reached base three times and drove in a pair of runs. Cabrera carried the PotG vote with 62%.