The game started with a bang, literally. A Justin Upton three-run blast signaled that the Tigers had no interest in letting this series go quietly. In the third inning, Ian Kinsler provided a solo shot of his own, bringing to the score to 4-0 thanks to a missed catch by left Royals fielder Alex Gordon.
Michael Fulmer wasn’t to be outdone, keeping the Royals hitless into the fourth inning, and otherwise demonstrating pitches so filthy they shouldn’t be shown on daytime television.
In the top of the sixth, Fulmer took a comebacker off an Alex Gordon hit to the knee and immediately faltered, but continued to pitch, because he’s made entirely of grit and fire.
Between Fulmer’s incredible work and the completely lackluster Royals offense, the game was a clear win for the Tigers from the get-go. It was the kind of high-energy, exciting show that makes baseball a real treat to watch, with all the players engaged and enthusiastic and some really tremendous plays being made all around.
The only negative note of today’s game was J.D. Martinez appearing to favor his foot during an at-bat in the bottom of the seventh. He continued to play, and after a 15-pitch at-bat he got an RBI single, so it likely isn’t going to be too much of a problem.
Fulmer damn near had a Maddux today, and would have managed it if not for two singles in the ninth. Not sure what a Maddux is? It’s when a single pitcher is able to throw a complete game in under 99 pitchers. Fulmer’s final line was 8.2 IP 7H 3R 2ER 0BB 7K and 104 pitches. Manager Brad Ausmus was booed for pulling Fulmer, but it was the right thing to do. Justin Wilson went on to collect the final out of the game.
Michael Fulmer is no stranger to solid outings. In his last start in San Diego, a heartbreaker of a loss, he allowed only one run on two hits through seven innings. Sadly that single run was what sealed the team’s fate in a low-scoring shut out game. Not this time. Fulmer, who has the fourth-lowest ERA in the AL, was utterly dominant on the mound today.
Fulmer's pitch count:— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) June 29, 2017
First inning: 11
Second inning: 9
Third inning: 10
Fourth inning: 11
Also please watch this, but make sure there are no children present:
Michael Fulmer, Changeup Release/Movement. pic.twitter.com/PIENUdSLGU— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 29, 2017
The Tigers offense — it’s hard to single out any one hero here, since the bats were as hot as an August day in downtown Detroit. Home runs for Justin Upton, Ian Kinsler, and Andrew Romine, and one hell of an at-bat from J.D. Martinez.
thoughts and prayers to the baserunners being tortured on a hot summer day by JD Martinez pic.twitter.com/sEZKqmslI5— Cowherd: (@davelozo) June 29, 2017
Justin Upton, whose error in the ninth inning allowed a run to score and also spelled the end of Fulmer’s day.
STREAKS & INFO:
Going into today’s game it might surprise some to know that the Tigers actually had the best inter-division win percentage this season, at .586, a record of 17-12.
Had Fulmer managed the Maddux it would have been the first by a Tiger since David Price in 2015, and only the fourth since 1998 (previously achieved by Rick Porcello and Armando Galarragga)