Volquez, strong D help Royals blank Tigers

Volquez, strong D help Royals blank Tigers

KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Edinson Volquez tossed seven shutout innings and Mike Moustakas hit his fifth homer of the season as the Royals took the deciding game of a three-game set with the Tigers, 4-0, on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Volquez retired the first eight hitters he faced and was in command throughout, giving up five hits while walking one and striking out five.

"Eddie was just fantastic against a really good hitting team over there," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He gave us seven strong innings when we needed to give the bullpen a little break. He managed his pitch count really well. He used all his pitches and kept them off-balance."

Added Volquez: "I think my curve was hanging a little today. I gave up some singles on that. But my fastball was good, had a lot of movement on my two-seamer."

Moustakas' solo homer

Right-hander Mike Pelfrey started for the Tigers and wobbled through five innings. He gave up eight hits and walked five, but gave up only four runs thanks to double plays in both of the first two innings.

Defense, defense and more defense: The Royals are known as one of the best defensive teams in the game, and they flashed that leather against the Tigers. Four-time Gold Glove left fielder Alex Gordon threw a bullet to third base to nail Jose Iglesias, who was trying to go first to third on a single in the third. Gordon then ran a long way to make a sensational diving catch in the gap in the fourth to rob Justin Upton of extra bases. First baseman Eric Hosmer got in the act in the fifth when he made a headfirst diving catch in foul ground on a pop fly from Iglesias. More >

Statcast: Gordon runs one down

"There was great defense on both sides," Yost said. "We could have broken this game open, but their middle infield played great. And we got great defense from Gordo and Hoz. Good show for the fans."

Iglesias shows off his defense, too: One night after a diving stop up the middle and a nice throw deep in the hole, Iglesias continued his defensive wizardry to help keep Pelfrey in the game early. Iglesias started double plays in each of the first two innings, first with a quick snare of a hard-hit line drive up the middle, then with a sliding stop behind second base in the second.

Tigers complete the double play

"You hate putting yourself in those situations and the team in those situations," Pelfrey said. "Defensively, they kept backing me up. You appreciate that."

Manufacturing runs: The Royals had eight baserunners against Pelfrey in the first two innings, but thanks to two hard-hit double-play balls, scored only one run. In the fifth, they used their legs to score. Jarrod Dyson doubled, went to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly by Alcides Escobar. Later in the inning, Lorenzo Cain and Hosmer walked. They then pulled off a double steal, and Cain jogged home when the throw wound up in left field.

Cain steals and scores on error

"We were trying to force the issue and get some runs on the board," Yost said. "We were a little short in the bullpen, so we were trying to extend Eddie. The more runs we gave him, the more leeway I could give him."

Near collision in left-center: The Tigers avoided adding injury to an already rough night when Upton and Tyler Collins ran into each other chasing a Gordon fly ball to left-center in the seventh. Upton held onto the ball as the two bounced off each other, then the two debated who had called for it first.

"They were both calling for it, and neither one heard the other one yelling," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Part of that's probably the growing pains with T.C. He hasn't played a ton of center field."

"We can play with them. We can play with anybody. When we're pitching and we're swinging the way we can, the way we should be from top to bottom, we can play with them, without a doubt." -- Nick Castellanos, on the Royals

Castellanos starts double play

Pelfrey became the first Tiger to walk five or more batters in back-to-back outings since Dontrelle Willis, who did it in three consecutive starts in 2009, according to Baseball-Reference.com. Armando Galarraga ('08) and Jeremy Bonderman ('03, '08) are the only other Tigers to do so since '00. More >

Tigers: Detroit returns home to begin a seven-game homestand with a three-game set against the Indians. Justin Verlander (1-1, 7.16 ERA) takes the mound in Friday night's opener winless against Cleveland in his last seven starts. First pitch is set for 7:10 ET.

Royals: Right-hander Chris Young (0-3, 7.90 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals in the first of a three-game series with the Orioles at Kauffman Stadium on Friday night at 7:15 CT. The last time he started against the O's in 2014, he threw seven scoreless innings.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.