Major League debuts don't get much tougher than the one Royals starter Eric Skoglund faced on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium. Not only was he matched up against Justin Verlander; he would also have to face Miguel Cabrera and a potent Tigers lineup.
With two outs in the first, Skoglund came face-to-face with the two-time MVP. Showing his sportsmanship, Cabrera gave the rookie a little thumbs-up.
The gesture was not lost on Skoglund. "That was fun," he said to MLB.com's Jeffrey Flanagan. "Pretty cool."
Cabrera has previously offered similar kudos to other pitchers, but few have ended up with outings as good as Skoglund's. After walking Cabrera and allowing a single to Victor Martinez, he worked out of a jam by fanning J.D. Martinez for his first career strikeout. Then, he proceeded to have the best night of his baseball life to date.
With his parents cheering him on, Skoglund retired the next 14 batters in a row and departed with 6 1/3 brilliant innings of two-hit shutout ball. He even got to add Cabrera to his strikeout list. Eric Hosmer gave Skoglund the only run support he needed with an RBI single in the sixth, and he notched his first Major League victory in a 1-0 KC win.
It was a night worthy of an ovation, and the Kansas City crowd obliged.