Daniel Norris made just his fifth start of the season as the Detroit Tigers opened their series against the struggling Kansas City Royals on Monday. Though Norris put in a decent effort, he was not given any help from his offense who looked mostly useless at the plate. Unfortunately, the 3-1 defeat was not even the biggest loss for the Tigers on the night.
Norris seemed to be in trouble early, walking the leadoff man on four pitches and misplaying a comebacker to put runners on the corners with no outs. However, he limited the damage to just one run in the first and bounced back to throw three straight scoreless innings.
Similarly, the Tigers offense was finding no luck against Royals starter Ian Kennedy. Detroit managed just one hit during the first four frames and entered the fifth inning down 1-0. To make matters worse, Miguel Cabrera was grimacing after his at-bat in the fourth and was removed from the game with a bicep injury.
While the Tigers could not get anything going with their bats, the Royals struck again in the top of the sixth. A one-out double, wild pitch, and walk by Norris summoned the end of his outing, and Alex Wilson came in to take his place. Wilson immediately gave up a run on a well-placed squeeze bunt to make it 2-0, but got a double play to end the inning.
The Tigers finally got on the board in the bottom of the seventh inning. With one out, J.D. Martinez launched a solo shot out to left center to make it 2-1 Kansas City. The Tigers were able to put two men on with two outs, but Mike Aviles fouled out to first to end the threat.
Bruce Rondon relieved Wilson in the eighth inning and recorded a clean appearance. Blaine Hardy then took over in the ninth and gave up another run to put the Royals up by two. The Tigers could not find any success against the back-end of the Kansas City bullpen and limped their way to a 3-1 loss. They sit 2 1/2 games behind the second wild card spot and five games back in the AL Central.
J.D. Martinez: His 16th home run was his fourth since returning from the disabled list earlier this month.
Daniel Norris: Though he allowed base runners throughout the night and did not make it out of the sixth, Norris was able to minimize the damage, giving up just two runs in 5 1/3 innings.
The entire lineup, minus J.D.: Six hits, one run, and very few chances on offense all evening outside of Martinez’s dinger.
Shaky defense: Norris rushed a throw in the first inning that led to Cabrera’s injury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia was frozen on a squeeze play in the sixth, and even a handful of successful outs did not look pretty.
Miguel Cabrera’s injury: The Tigers already have their shortstop, third baseman, and center fielder on the disabled list, as well as a couple of starting pitchers. They can ill afford to lose another key contributor, let alone the best player on the team.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Daniel Norris made his longest start of the season and also his third longest outing since joining the Tigers last August.
- The Tigers were held under two runs for the fourth time in the past eight games.
- Tyler Collins was ejected in the eighth inning for the first time in his career.
- The Tigers ended the game with zero position players left on the bench.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: