The Tigers were probably due for a game like this. The squander returned with a bit of a vengeance, and one mistake from Wily Peralta put the Royals on top for good as they took the first game of the three game set 5-3.
Wily Peralta and lefty Kris Bubic were both pretty good early on in this one. The defense was sharp as well, and the first two innings passed with a Jonathan Schoop walk accounting for the only baserunner on either side.
Willi Castro, batting righthanded, turned on a Bubic—seriously this guy reminds me so much of Matt Boyd—fastball and launched it for a solo shot to left to lead off the third inning. Derek Hill lined a single to center, but before we could even settle into the duel between Hill and Bubic/Perez, Robbie Grossman grounded into a double play. This would become a theme.
Peralta’s command was pretty spotty overall on the night, and it started to bite him in the third as he issued a leadoff walk to Hunter Dozier. Jarrod Dyson moved him over with a sacrifice bunt, and Whit Merrifield, obviously, singled him home to tie things up.
The Tigers got singles from Eric Haase and Jeimer Candelario, but with one out, Zack Short grounded into double play number two.
Peralta was bending a bit, but he finally broke in the bottom of the fourth. Sal Perez led off with a single, and Jorge Soler walked to set up Ryan O’Hearn. Peralta quickly fell behind 2-0, and O’Hearn crunched a center cut fastball out to center to make it 4-1. That was the eventual game winner, but Peralta also allowed a Carlos Santana solo shot in the fifth, ultimately pitching into the sixth before allowing a two out triple into the right field corner that bounced away from Victor Reyes. AJ Hinch turned to Derek Holland, who got Dyson to ground out to end the inning.
In the top half of the sixth, the Tigers had another great scoring opportunity. Schoop lined a single, and after Eric Haase struck out, Miguel Cabrera fought back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk, and a Jeimer Candelario hotshot to first clanged off Santana’s glove to load the bases. And then Zack Short grounded into a double play.
You see the issue here.
Kyle Zimmer took over for Bubic in the seventh, and the Tigers were glad to see him. Willi Castro singled with one out, and Derek Hill drew a walk, reaching base for the third time in the contest. Zimmer wild pitched them up 90 feet, and then wild pitched in Castro before Schoop again lined a single, this time to right to plate Hill and make it 5-3. Scott Barlow replaced Zimmer and got Haase to ground out to snuff any hope for a big rally.
The Tigers did little in the eighth, and Daniel Norris punched out three hitters in the bottom of the inning, despite a walk to Jorge Soler.
Unfortunately, the back of the lineup was up in the top of the ninth. Reyes struck out, Willi Castro grounded out, and Hill struck out to end the game.
Overall, the Tigers played a decent game. They’ve been cashing in their ducks a lot lately, so a game where they stranded some runners and couldn’t break through was not unexpected. With their better relievers rested, they’ll look to back Casey Mize to victory on Saturday night.