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Royals 4, Tigers 0: Johnny Cueto dominates Detroit in Royals home debut

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A rough first inning from Matt Boyd was all the Royals needed to take the series opener tonight at Kauffman Stadium.

Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Five days ago, Matt Boyd outdueled Johnny Cueto in a 2-1 Detroit Tigers victory over the Kansas City Royals. Boyd and the Tigers were unable to replicate that magic tonight, dropping a 3-0 game to the Royals.

The real story, however, was Cueto, who made his Kauffman Stadium debut in a Royals uniform. He threw his second complete game of the season, allowing just four hits to a hapless Tigers offense while striking out eight. Cueto had thrown 107 pitches through eight innings, but a raucous Kauffman crowd helped will him through a breezy ninth inning.

The Royals got off to a hot start, scoring three runs in the first inning. Alcides Escobar and Ben Zobrist both jumped on first-pitch fastballs for base hits, and Lorenzo Cain drove them both in with an RBI double six pitches later. After Boyd struck out Eric Hosmer, Kendrys Morales singled to center, scoring Cain. Boyd would get the next two batters out, but wound up throwing 33 pitches in his opening frame.

Boyd would settle down from there, working through four scoreless innings before he was pulled with one out in the sixth inning. He used more offspeed pitches to keep the aggressive Royals lineup off balance, but was also picked up by his defense a couple of times. Tyler Collins threw out Ben Zobrist trying to stretch a single into a double in the third inning, while the infield was able to turn a double play on the speedy Cain in the fifth. Jefry Marte made a solid defensive play on Boyd's final batter, throwing out Morales at third base on a ground ball.

The Royals tacked on a run in the seventh inning. Buck Farmer, on in relief for Boyd, allowed two baserunners before departing. Kyle Ryan was brought on to face the left-handed Hosmer, but quickly fell behind 3-0 and allowed a seeing-eye single on a 3-2 count to score pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson.

ROARS:

Matt Boyd: It wasn't pretty at first. Boyd allowed three runs on four hits to the first five batters he faced. After that, Boyd set down 15 of the next 19 batters and did not allow another run. He and catcher Alex Avila adjusted to the Royals' hyper-aggressive ways, mixing in more offspeed pitches after getting ambused early. The way Boyd responded tonight speaks far more about his ability to pitch at this level than his early struggles, and is encouraging for his future with the Tigers.

Jefry Marte: Tallied two of the Tigers' four hits in a pair of great at-bats against Cueto. He also made a head-up defensive play in the sixth inning, throwing accurately across the diamond to nail Kendrys Morales at third base on a routine ground ball.

HISSES:

Tigers offense: Yes, Johnny Cueto was on the mound, but the Tigers failed to mount any sort of scoring threat, logging just four hits and no walks in tonight's game.

STREAKS AND STATS:
  • The Tigers turned their 105th double play of the season in the top of the fifth inning, which ranks sixth in the American League.
  • After Matt Boyd's second start, he has a 2.92 ERA in 12 1/3 innings in a Tigers uniform.
  • Jefry Marte has reached base safely in six straight games. He is now batting .268 with three home runs in 17 games this season.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs