Cuet-0: KC ace twirls shutout in home debut

Cuet-0: KC ace twirls shutout in home debut

KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Johnny Cueto, making his home debut at Kauffman Stadium, dazzled the Tigers with a four-hit shutout as the Royals won, 4-0, on Monday in front of 36,672 fans.

Cueto walked none and struck out eight. He received numerous standing ovations from a delighted crowd. After the eighth inning, Cueto asked manager Ned Yost if he could pitch the ninth.

"Real happy about the fans," Cueto said through interpreter Pedro Grifol. "They really gave me an extra boost and real, real happy with the way I worked with Salvy [Salvador Perez] tonight."

Cueto received a huge ovation when he went back to the mound for the ninth.

"The crowd didn't know he was going out in the ninth but I did and I knew that was the reaction we would get," Yost said. "They went to their feet and were cheering. It was kind of exciting because I knew they would get pretty whipped up. That was kind of fun."

Lorenzo Cain drove in two runs with a double in the first, giving Cueto all the run support he needed.

Cain's two-run double

Left-hander Matt Boyd started for the Tigers and gave up nine hits and three runs through 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Quick start: Most opponents know by now how the Royals love to ambush pitchers in the first inning, so it may have been surprising Boyd fed hittable fastballs early. Alcides Escobar jumped on the first pitch from Boyd and poked a singled up the middle. Ben Zobrist went after the very next pitch and slammed a single to left. Then Cain waited a few pitches before smashing a two-run double to left-center and very quickly the Royals had a 2-0 lead. More >

"When you got Johnny going and you get three in the first inning, that's big," Yost said. "You know now he's got room to stay on the attack. He doesn't have to be afraid to make a mistake because a mistake isn't going to kill him. It is a real comfort level when you can jump out -- to get two is big but to get three was a good start for us."

RBI machine: Two hitters later, Kendrys Morales ripped a single to left-center and Cain scored to give the Royals a 3-0 lead. Morales now has 81 RBIs, second in the American League to Toronto's Josh Donaldson, who has 83. Morales also is now 10-for-his-last-13 with runners in scoring position.

Morales' RBI single

Picking himself off the Matt: Five batters into Boyd's second start as a Tiger, the rookie left-hander had given up three runs on four hits, and Royals batters were all over the elevated pitches that got him popouts against them last week. Boyd made the adjustment, changed eye level, and held the damage at that. More >

"Really he did a nice job of recovering," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "A lot of young pitchers wouldn't have recovered from that first inning."

QUOTABLE
"Really the story was Johnny Cueto. He's a very good pitcher that was very good tonight. You're going to come up against good pitchers like that and sometimes they're going to stick it to you." -- Ausmus

Cueto fans sport dreadlocks

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Tigers second-year left fielder Tyler Collins recorded his first Major League assist in his 12th career start in the outfield, throwing out Ben Zobrist trying to take second base. Collins had 13 assists at Triple-A Toledo last year and three this season.

Collins nabs Zobrist at second

WHAT'S NEXT
Tigers: Anibal Sanchez (10-9, 4.82) starts on Tuesday at 8:10 p.m. ET looking to earn his first win since July 22 and avenge a no-decision against Kansas City in his last start. Sanchez left in the seventh inning with a 6-4 lead before the Royals rallied off Detroit's bullpen.

Royals: Right-hander Yordano Ventura (6-7, 5.29 ERA) takes the hill for the second straight time against Detroit at 7:10 p.m. CT. Last Thursday, Ventura labored through five innings, surrendering eight hits and six runs -- he gave up two homers to Victor Martinez.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.