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Royals 8, Tigers 5: Rare run support for Spencer Turnbull not enough in loss

The Tigers scored some runs, but the Royals scored more.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals
Yeah, pretty much.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers scored five runs in a Spencer Turnbull start — something they haven’t done since May 31 — but a subpar return from the injured list coupled with normal bullpen hijinx and... whatever that defense was doomed the Tigers to an 8-5 loss to the Kansas City Royals in their first game back from the All-Star break.

The Tigers offense got off to a solid start in this one. Victor Reyes singled to lead off the game, one of three hits for him on the night, and scored when Nicholas Castellanos doubled off Royals starter Danny Duffy. While the lefthander would set the next three hitters down in order and work around a pair of baserunners in the second, he quickly came unraveled in the third. Reyes singled again to lead off the frame, then advanced on a wild pitch. Castellanos walked, and Miguel Cabrera singled home Reyes to tie the score at 2. Brandon Dixon followed with an RBI double, which chased Duffy to the showers. The Tigers plated a fourth run when a sharp grounder glanced off the glove of first baseman Cheslor Cuthbert. He was charged with an error on the play, but Cabrera likely would have scored anyway.

Unfortunately, the Royals were more than able to keep pace. They plated a run of their own in the bottom of the first on an Alex Gordon sacrifice fly — one that featured a, ahem, poor throw from Christin Stewart in left — and took a 2-1 lead in the second when Bubba Starling walked and eventually scored when the Tigers couldn’t quite turn an inning-ending double play.

Anyway, here’s Stewart’s throw. It was... not pretty.

Things got worse for Turnbull in the third. Now working with a two-run lead, Turnbull gave up a one-out walk to Alex Gordon. He nearly got out of the mini-jam, but Jorge Soler scored Gordon with a two-out RBI double, and Cuthbert atoned for his earlier gaffe with a two-run homer on the very next pitch to give the Royals the lead, 5-4.

From there, things were mostly bad for the Tigers, save for the work by Gregory Soto. The rookie lefthander had the best outing of his young career, throwing three scoreless innings in relief of Turnbull. Soto struck out three and did not walk a batter, and recorded nine outs on a tidy 37 pitches. In the meantime, Victor Reyes continued his quietly excellent day with an RBI bloop double that tied the score at 5.

After that? Woof. Blaine Hardy came into a tie game in the seventh and gave up a one-out solo shot to catcher Martin Maldonado, his sixth of the year. Whit Merrifield followed with a double, then stole third base when Hardy failed to hold him close to the bag. A dropped third strike scooted away from catcher John Hicks, and Merrifield scampered home to double Kansas City’s lead, 7-5. Buck Farmer got the Tigers out of the inning, but the damage was done. Jose Cisnero gave up a solo shot to Soler to lead off the bottom of the eighth, and the Tigers offense reverted to its first half form in the later innings, including a 1-2-3 ninth against Royals closer Ian Kennedy (yes, I still think those last four words are weird to say).