David Price gave the Tigers all they could ask for Saturday night. In dire need of a victory to cool off the red-hot Royals, the Tigers needed a stopper and Price responded in true ace fashion. The Tigers' big left-hander chilled the Royals lineup, carving them up in efficient fashion over nine innings for a 2-1 victory and his first complete game of the year.
Through the first eight innings, Price allowed just four singles and no walks, needing only 91 pitches. He had the Royals off-balance all night, inducing weak contact and taking advantage of a fine defensive performance behind him. In the ninth, with two outs and a shutout at Price's finger fingertips, Lorenzo Cain finally broke through for the Royals, launching a solo shot to left field to spoil Price's bid at a Maddux. Price responded in anger, striking out Eric Hosmer to end the game and get the Tigers' back in this four-game set from Kansas City.
The Tigers' defensive improvements showed up all night in support of their ace. Alex Avila cut down Mike Moustakas on a delayed steal attempt in the third inning. Nick Castellanos continues to provide evidence of his commitment to improving his defense, turning a gorgeous double play to shut down a Royals rally in the sixth. Rajai Davis and Andrew Romine contributed stellar running catches on a pair of flares in the eighth and ninth inning respectively.
For the first time in the series, the Tigers were able to stake their starter to a lead, doing so with their feet instead of their power. Anthony Gose broke up a double play with a strong takeout slide into second base in the third inning, causing an errant throw that allowed Davis to ramble home. Two innings later, Gose burned it to second on a flare to left field that Alex Gordon couldn't corral and scored on Ian Kinsler's single moments later. The Tigers' offense remained stagnant most of the night however, particularly the Tigers' deadly 3-4 combination.
Price however, did not need much help, putting the team on his back the way a true ace can and providing the Tigers with a win they badly needed.
David Price: A brilliant performance when his team really needed him. A complete game, one-run performance was just what the fans ordered, sparing the bullpen for tomorrow's season finale. He struck out three and allowed five hits.
Anthony Gose: Anthony was the catalyst for both the Tigers' early runs and posted a three-hit performance on Saturday night. He broke up a double-play in the third and caused a throwing error in the process that allowed Rajai Davis to score the Tigers' first run. In the fifth he never stopped flying on a flare to left field, turning a near out into a double when Alex Gordon couldn't field it cleanly.
Ian Kinsler: On top of his usual stellar defense, Kinsler added a pair of singles, one of them of the RBI variety to score the Tigers' second run.
Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez: The heart of the Tigers' order had to little to say about the win tonight. Cabrera managed a walk, but the two combined to go 0-for-7 otherwise, though neither struck out.
Streaks and Stats:
- Tonight's win was the 12th complete game of David Price's career. His ERA now stands at 2.93 on the year despite the debacle against the Yankees. Without that start his ERA would be .96.
- Alex Avila is now 3-for-11 (27 percent) in throwing out runners on the year.
- With tonight's three-hit performance, Anthony Gose now has a line of .322/.355/475 on the year.
- Ian Kinsler's line is .286/.355/.357 with two stolen bases, though he has yet to homer on the year through 25 games, the longest drought to open a season of his career.
-Anthony Gose was also in the middle of a controversial (insert your own adjective or expletive) ruling in the top of the seventh. After sliding across second base on a hit and run, Gose retreated to first on Ian Kinsler's fly-out to center field. Despite clearly touching the base after sliding over it, Gose was ruled to have failed to tag-up properly because he pivoted his right leg toward third base before returning to first, in spite of the fact that he was facing centerfield and clearly made no move to head to third.
Win Probability Graph: