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Tigers 8, Royals 3: Michael Fulmer dazzles in 9-strikeout start

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The offense showed up in a big way and Shane Greene denied the Royals a legitimate comeback chance.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT — Michael Fulmer’s latest start was reminiscent of his June dominance. He twirled a fiery start against the Royals while the Tigers offense put a hurt on the opposing pitching staff. Despite antics from Mark Lowe in the ninth, the Tigers won it 8-3 as Shane Greene slammed the door for the final out.

Perhaps he pitched with a chip on his shoulder, but Fulmer was taking no prisoners with the Royals in town. He dispatched the first eight consecutive batters and didn’t allow a run until the sixth inning. Assisted by a few double plays and a plethora of run support, Fulmer struck out nine and finished seven inning strong without walking a batter.

The double play that was, and then wasn’t, was responsible for the lone run against Detroit. Following the first out and back-to-back singles in the sixth, Kendrys Morales grounded into an uncommon 3-6-1 inning-ending double play. The players cleared the field, and Fulmer was walking down the dugout steps. Then, Royals manager Ned Yost challenged.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus took issue with it on the basis that the Royals asked for a review too late. MLive photographer Mike Mulholland, who was within earshot at the time, relayed that the Royals had indeed called for a challenge but that the umpires hadn’t heard in time. At any rate, it prompted a lengthy back-and-forth and two reviews for clarification.

The call was ultimately overturned and ruled a fielder’s choice. Paulo Orlando stepped to the plate and knocked an infield single to Ian Kinsler — despite a great sprawling grab, couldn’t get it out of his glove and to Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers offense knocked three home runs and drove in eight runs, but the main event of the night was Fulmer and his sparkling performance.

ROARS:

Michael Fulmer: Shut out the Royals for five innings. He gave up just one run on an infield single that Kinsler couldn’t get to Cabrera, and finished with nine strikeouts through seven frames. He didn’t walk a batter, either.

Justin Upton: Drove in two on a double in the first and a home run in the third.

Cameron Maybin: Knocked a two-run home run to left in the fourth. Even he didn’t think it had gone out and was in a full-fledged sprint until he got to second base. Nearly tripped over himself when he realized it had gone out.

Victor Martinez: Homered in the third, walked, and hit a single.

HISSES:

Mark Lowe: This was empty until Lowe came to the mound in the eighth. He gave up two runs on two hits in two-third of an inning.

STATS AND INFO:
  • Justin Upton hit 10 home runs in July and August, during which time he hit .250 with eight doubles. He’s now hit nine homers in September alone, with nine games remaining.
  • Upton’s home run in the third was his 27th of the year, surpassing his 2015 total.
  • Michael Fulmer's 129 strikeouts this year is the second-most by a Tigers rookie. Les Cain leads with 156 (1970).
  • Cameron Maybin’s home run was just his fourth of the year.
  • Victor Martinez hit his 26th homer of the year in the third inning.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:

Source: FanGraphs