Earlier today, I whacked my shin on the coffee table. The first part of this game felt eerily similar to the aftermath of my earlier mishap. Things got better after the Detroit Tigers exploded for six runs in the fifth inning, and they were able to overcome a patented Tigers bullpen implosion to beat the Kansas City Royals 10-7 on Memorial Day at Kauffman Stadium.
The Tigers threatened a bit in the early innings, putting a pair of runners on in both the first and third. They came away empty both times, with Victor Martinez stranding four runners on base in his first two at-bats. The Royals took an early 1-0 lead on a Whit Merrifield home run, then stretched it to 3-0 after Merrified tripled home a run and scored in the bottom of the fourth.
Then, the unthinkable happened. Alex Presley and Jose Iglesias reached base to open the fifth inning, and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch by Royals starter Jason Hammel. Two walks later, the Tigers were on the board and Hammel’s night was done. Reliever Mike Minor had been on a hot streak lately, but gave up a double and home run to Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez, respectively. Those two hits scored five more runs, giving the Tigers a 6-3 lead.
Starter Daniel Norris wasn’t all that efficient, but he kept the Royals off balance for the most part. He allowed three runs in five innings, and had to get out of a jam in the third inning when his defense flubbed a sure double play ball. Norris did well to keep the Royals off the board in the bottom of the fifth, and finished his day with 96 pitches thrown.
Unfortunately, that was far from the end of it. Shane Greene gave up a pair of hits and a walk when he entered in the sixth inning, looking nothing like the reliever that has helped lock down the middle innings lately. Blaine Hardy walked in a run after he entered the game, and allowed a second inherited runner to score on a sacrifice fly from Alcides Escobar.
Although Hardy had only thrown 12 pitches, manager Brad Ausmus went to Francisco Rodriguez with a one-run lead in the seventh inning.
I’ll let that one sink in for a moment.
As you might expect, Rodriguez did not fare well. He walked Lorenzo Cain to lead off the inning, then gave up an opposite field home run to Eric Hosmer that gave the Royals a 7-6 lead.
Fortunately, the offense was up to the challenge. They greeted old friend Joakim Soria with a pair of runs on three hits, ending his night before he recorded an out. Miguel Cabrera plated two more with an RBI single off lefthander Matt Strahm, stretching Detroit’s lead to 10-7. Alex Wilson and Justin Wilson would combined for a pair of drama free innings to close out the win for the Tigers.
The offense: It took them a few innings to really get going, but the Tigers offense finally came alive, scoring 10 runs on 12 hits. Every Tiger hitter reached base at least once, and all but Andrew Romine — who was on base three times — scored a run.
Alex and Justin Wilson: Outside of a leadoff walk from Justin in the ninth, they slammed the door on any more comeback attempts after the Tigers offense took the lead in the top of the eighth.
Francisco Rodriguez: It was rather predictable, wasn’t it? Rodriguez was asked to navigate the heart of Kansas City’s lineup with a one-run lead and failed, coughing up two runs before recording an out. To his credit, he settled down from there to minimize the damage, but it was still a poor outing.
Shane Greene: He did not have his best outing either, and eventually allowed a pair of runs when Blaine Hardy could not strand the bases loaded.