Like many of our friends throughout the SB Nation network, we are simulating the 2020 MLB season with MLB The Show 20. While we are unable to stream the games as they would otherwise be happening, we will try to get ahead of the curve and post about the games on the same day they would have taken place. Or, you know, at least get them back on schedule. Now, onto the recap!
The simulated Detroit Tigers offense put up eight runs on 14 hits in their series opener on Friday, but that wasn’t enough to top the Kansas City Royals, who continued their winning ways with a 10-8 victory over the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. The simulated Royals have now won nine of their last 11 games.
Kansas City’s offense pulled no punches in this one. They put up 15 hits in all, and jumped on Tigers starter Ivan Nova from the jump. Adalberto Mondesi led off the first inning with a hit, then advanced to third on a single from Whit Merrifield. Jorge Soler followed with a two-run double down the third base line, aided by an errant throw from left fielder Clint Frazier. Hunter Dozier plated Soler with an RBI double of his own to make it 3-0 before Nova could retire the side.
The Tigers offense went quietly in the first few innings against Royals starter Danny Duffy, but finally broke through in the fourth. C.J. Cron got things started with a one-out single, and Jonathan Schoop followed with a sharp single of his own up the middle. Frazier made up for his earlier gaffe with a two-out, two-run double, cutting the Royals’ lead to one. Grayson Greiner and Jeimer Candelario continued the two-out magic after that, with consecutive RBI doubles of their own to put the Tigers up 4-3.
The Royals responded immediately. Nova walked Salvador Perez to open the bottom of the fourth, then gave up a one-out single to Nicky Lopez. Brett Phillips wasted no time in the next at-bat, sending Nova’s first pitch into the right field seats for a three-run homer that put Kansas City back on top, 6-4.
The Tigers threatened in the top of the fifth, but came away empty, and Kansas City’s offense made them pay for it. Jorge Soler doubled off Michael Fulmer to lead off the bottom of the fifth, and scored on an RBI single from Salvador Perez. Maikel Franco fouled off a few pitches in a two-strike count before launching a hanging changeup over the center field wall, which extended his team’s lead to 9-4 before Fulmer was able to retire the side.
The Tigers’ offense kept chipping away, though. Cameron Maybin and Miguel Cabrera reached base with one out in the seventh, and C.J. Cron (who else?) plated both runners with a double to the wall. The Tigers were unable to score Cron from second after that, but Kansas City’s lead was cut to 9-6. The Royals added another run off Fulmer in the bottom of the inning, but went down quietly after lefthander Tyler Alexander came on in relief.
The score stayed at 10-6 until the ninth, when the Tigers nearly stole another game. Consecutive singles from Victor Reyes, Maybin, and Cabrera ended Josh Staumont’s day after three batters (and zero outs), and gave the Tigers another run. Cron singled off righthander Josh Barlow to score another run, bringing the Tigers within two.
Unfortunately, despite having the tying runs on base with no outs, the comeback was not to be. Jonathan Schoop’s hard line drive glanced off Dozier’s glove at third base, but he was able to gather the ball and still record an out. Niko Goodrum struck out, and Christin Stewart’s hopeful fly ball died in the deeper part of Kauffman Stadium’s vast outfield, stranding both runners on base.