The Detroit Tigers rallied for three runs in the ninth inning to erase a 4-2 deficit, pulling out a 5-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals in the series opener at Kauffman Stadium. Consecutive doubles by Victor Martinez, Jim Adduci, and James McCann fueled the comeback rally for Detroit.
With just eight days remaining before the non-waiver trade deadline, the Tigers rolled into Kansas City to open a three game series against the Royals on Monday. Francisco Liriano, who may be traded in the coming days, took the mound for Detroit against Royals rookie righthander Heath Fillmyer.
The Royals jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a pair of walks, an error by first baseman Jim Adduci, and a bases-loaded, two-out, two-run single up the middle by Lucas Duda. Liriano gave up a pair of singles in the second inning followed by a wild pitch putting runners on second and third, but he struck out Salvador Perez to strand the runners.
The defensive play of the game came in the fourth inning, when Jose Iglesias charged a softly hit ground ball, and made this spectacular play.
We can't stress this enough: it's not supposed to look this easy. pic.twitter.com/sEPUsTR3KN— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 24, 2018
Liriano pitched three scoreless innings before giving up a one out double to Emilio Bonifacio in the fifth inning. He scored on a single by Duda to make it 3- 0, ending Liriano’s performance. Liriano entered the game allowing left handed hitters a batting average of .088/ .200 on base percentage/ and .193 slugging percentage, but it was the left handed Duda who drove in all three runs.
The line score on Liriano was 4-2/3 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs but just one earned run, 6 strikeouts, and 3 walks. Victor Alcantara came on in relief for Detroit.
Fillmyer allowed the Tigers no runs and just two hits through six innings, those being a single by Victor Martinez and an infield single by James McCann, both in the second inning.
Alcantara struck out Yuniel Escobar to start the Royals’ half of the sixth inning. After Sal Butera doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch, he got a pair of ground outs to end the threat. After 1-1/3 scoreless innings, he has not allowed an earned run in five appearances since being called up this season.
The Tigers got on the board in the seventh inning on a two out walk to Victor Martinez, and a pair of singles by Adduci and McCann, scoring Martinez from second. The runners moved up on a passed ball and Adduci scored on a throwing error, allowing Iglesias to reach safely. That made the score Royals 3 and Tigers 2. Fillmyer was removed in favor of Kevin McCarthy before the runs were scored, but he was charged with both runs. He went 6-2/3 innings, 2 runs on 3 hits with 6 strikeouts and 3 walks.
Louis Coleman took over in relief for the Tigers in the bottom of the seventh inning and gave up a lead off single to Perez. After Bonifacio popped out, the Royals sent Mike Moustakas in to pinch hit for Dozier, and the Tigers brought in Daniel Stumpf with one on, one out, in a one run game. Moustakas promptly ripped a double past the out-stretched glove of Leonys Martin to score a run, making it 4- 2 for Kansas City. Stumpf struck out Duda and Alex Wilson came in to finish the inning.
After McCarthy retired the Tigers on three ground balls in the top of the eighth, Wilson gave up a lead-off infield single to Butera, a sacrifice and a double, but stranded runners on second and third to keep the deficit at two runs going to the ninth.
Brandon Maurer came in to close the game for the Royals, but it didn’t work out that way. Jeimer Candelario hit a bloop single over the infield and went to third when Martinez doubled into the right field corner. Jacoby Jones pinch ran for Martinez. Adduci ripped a double down the left field line, scoring two runs to tie the game. Maurer was removed with McCann on second and no outs.
Jason Hammel came on for Maurer and McCann greeted him with a double to deep center field to drive in the go ahead run. After Iglesias grounded out, Victor Reyes hit a flare to shallow left field which dropped in for a hit. McCann delayed and barely beat the throw to third, with Reyes taking second on the throw. Martin was intentionally walked to load the bases for Ronny Rodriguez with one out. Rodriguez hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Shane Greene came in for the Tigers in a save situation, with the Tigers up, 5- 4. After a pair of ground outs and a single, Greene got Escobar to fly out to Nick Castellanos in right field to end the game.
The Royals stranded a total of 12 runners in the game. The teams have two more games in Kansas City. The Tigers will send Jordan Zimmerman to the mound against the Royals’ Burch Smith.
Who was the Tigers’ player of the game?
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Victor Martinez; 2 for 3, walk, run
James McCann; 3 for 4 , 2 RBI
Jose Iglesias: 1 for 3, RBI, brilliant defense
Jim Adduci; 2 for 4, 2 runs, 2 RBI