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Royals 2, Tigers 1: Wasted opportunities spoil Shane Greene's stellar start

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The Tigers loaded the bases three times in the latter part of the game and came up with nothing to show for it.

Duane Burleson/Getty Images

DETROIT -- Shane Greene was stellar for the Detroit Tigers. Chris Young kept the Tigers offense quiet. Between the two teams, eight hits were recorded, four apiece. The Kansas City Royals bullpen was no less pleasant. In the end, the Tigers lost 2-1 after a long rain delay and a Tigers offense that refused to capitalize on multiple opportunities.

Greene was nearly untouchable. After consecutive doubles put the Royals up 1-0 in the second, pitching coach Jeff Jones paid a visit to the mound and the old Greene emerged. Until the seventh inning, Greene sent 15 consecutive batters back to the dugout without a hit, and 10 game as a result of weak groundouts. Interestingly, Greene only had three swings and misses through seven innings, and his lone strikeout didn't come until that same inning.

After eight innings of stellar work, Greene's night was done, to the tune of 96 pitches and three strikeouts, with just four hits allowed. Joakim Soria started the ninth for Detroit, and despite a leadoff walk amid the rain, he induced a flyout to left and an inning-ending 5-6-3 double play, maintaining the tie on 17 pitches.

The Tigers offense could get just three hits off Young. The only hard-hit ball was courtesy of J.D. Martinez, who also drew the Tigers only walk later in the game. After what has been a rough start to the season, he's really showing signs of turning it around. Even his deep flyout to center was well-struck.

A bit of good news, if you can call it that, was how the Tigers turned an error by the Royals into a run from first base, thanks to former Tiger Omar Infante. Infante, who attempted to make a highlight reel play to first, flipped the ball behind his back toward first, but it sailed past the bag and Gose headed to second on the error. Ian Kinsler, while he finished quiet for the rest of the night, hit an RBI single to plate Gose, tying the game.

But they wouldn't get another until the 10th inning, and despite loading the bases thrice in the span of two innings, the Tigers didn't take advantage of what had become an ineffective Royals bullpen. While Royals closer Greg Holland couldn't find the strike zone for several batters, loading the bases twice, he induced a double play and then struck out to Yoenis Cespedes with the bases loaded. Game over.

ROARS:

Shane Greene: Eight solid innings of one-run ball on just four hits. He didn't walk a batter and struck out three on 96 pitches. He was lights out without needing the strikeouts, and it was a much-needed comeback performance for the righty.

Ian Kinsler: Hit an RBI single in the third inning, driving in Anthony Gose and putting the Tigers on the board and tying the game at 1-1. He also drew a walk in the 10th that loaded the bases.

Joakim Soria: A leadoff walk did no harm. He needed 17 pitches, but Soria didn't allow a hit and got out of the inning on a double play. Even in the rain and he's not lights out, Soria dominates.

HISSES:

The rain: In the bottom of the ninth in a 1-1 game, Miguel Cabrera stepped to the plate and the crowd came to life. Unfortunately, so, too, did the rain. The Tigers and Royals had been able to play through light-to-medium showers throughout the evening, but the sudden downpour was enough for the game to be called before a pitch had been thrown. The tarp came off at one point. Then the tarp went back on.

Tigers offense: Wasted more opportunities than were worth counting.

STREAKS AND STATS:

  • Shane Greene matched his best start of 2015 Sunday night with his outing against the Minnesota Twins on April 9. His one earned run is the fewest allowed since giving up one run on April 19 against the Chicago White Sox.
  • J.D. Martinez's double in the second inning marked his first extra-base hit since April 29 against the Twins in Minnesota -- a home run -- and his first double since April 28. His double was the eighth of the season, second on the team behind only Yoenis Cespedes, who has 11.
  • J.D. Martinez drew a walk in the seventh inning, his eighth walk in the last five games (20 plate appearances). In his first 26 games (108 plate appearances) of the season, J.D. had drawn just four walks. He now has 12 this year.
  • James McCann's seven-game hitting streak came to a halt Sunday night when he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout against Young.
  • Andrew Romine's steal of second base in the fifth inning was his fourth of the season.
  • Joakim Soria has not allowed a run in his last 5 1/3 innings pitched, walking two and striking out five. In his last 13 outings Soria has allowed just one earned run (a home run) in 13 1/3 innings. He's struck out nine in that time, walking three and allowing just four hits for an ERA of 0.69.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs