By Jeffrey Flanagan and Jason Beck
MLB.com |@beckjason |
KANSAS CITY -- Salvador Perez homered and drilled a two-run double, snapping Tigers rookie Michael Fulmer's club record consecutive scoreless innings streak, as the Royals rolled to a 10-3 triumph on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals, who have won six of seven, remained one-half game back of the Indians in American League Central. The Tigers fell to 2 1/2 games back.
Fulmer set the all-time record for consecutive scoreless innings by a Tigers rookie with 33 1/3. The previous mark was 28 2/3 by John Hiller in 1967. Fulmer lasted 5 2/3 innings and gave up five hits and four walks to go with five strikeouts. It is the longest streak by a rookie since Fernando Valenzuela went 35 straight in 1981.
Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura was brilliant for the second straight start. After striking out 10 White Sox over seven innings in a win last Sunday, Ventura shut out the Tigers through 6 1/3 innings. He walked none and struck out five.
"Very impressive again," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Stayed within himself, executed his pitches. Just pitched great."
Ventura said through interpreter Pedro Grifol, "I felt good about my mechanics. [But] I just need to keep working on them."
"I just was more selective," Morales said through Grifol. "I picked up the pitches early and that really helped."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Salvy sizzling: Perez extended his hitting streak to nine games and continues his recent torrid pace. His homer was his third of the homestand -- this homer, over the left-field bullpen, traveled an estimated 422 feet from the plate, according to Statcast™. Perez now is 28 for his last 70 (.400) over his last 18 games with 12 extra-base hits and 14 RBIs. More >
"There's not much else to say about Sal," Yost said. "The homer was huge ... to get that one run at that point of the game felt like it was going to be really big. And that double was on a nasty pitch and was big to get us two more runs."
Fulmer strands bases loaded: Though Fulmer's scoreless streak ended, he escaped a pair of early-inning jams to extend it a while, including a bases-loaded, one-out opportunity for Lorenzo Cain in the third. Cain worked a 2-2 count before Fulmer induced a double-play grounder to shortstop Jose Iglesias, ending the inning as Fulmer pumped his fist. More >
"He pitched around Hosmer effectively and induced a double-play ball to Cain," catcher James McCann said. "He looked like a veteran on the mound. A lot of rookies give in to Hosmer and try to get him out. He understood that with the base open and a righty on deck, that was a favorable matchup. Just the way he goes about his business is special."
Too Legit to Whit: The Tigers, trailing 1-0 in the seventh, had runners on first and second and one out. Steven Moya sent a hard grounder headed for center field. But second baseman Whit Merrifield made a sensational diving stop to his right, and from his belly flipped to shortstop Alcides Escobar for the forceout. The Royals later got McCann on a groundout to end the inning.
"That was the game, the difference," reliever Kelvin Herrera said. "If they get that run, they have first and third, too, with good hitters up. It's a different game. [Merrifield] got me pumped to get the next guy."
Late power lessens margin: What had been a scoreless duel was a double-digit Detroit deficit until Miguel Cabrera greeted Dillon Gee with a homer to left-center leading off the ninth, Cabrera's second home run in as many games. It marked his first game with three hits and a home run on the road since Oct. 3, 2015, at the White Sox.
"The scoreless streak was nice and everything, but the ultimate goal every time out, it's a team game, to get a team W. Unfortunately, I wasn't good enough to do that tonight." -- Fulmer
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Fulmer's scoreless streak was the longest by a Major League rookie starter since Valenzuela and it's the longest by a Tigers pitcher of any experience level since at least 1961, topping Jack Morris' 31-inning streak in '86.
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers: Left-hander Matt Boyd (0-1, 4.91 ERA) will make his fifth start of the season on Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. ET in the third game of the four-game series at Kauffman Stadium. Boyd went 4 1/3 innings and gave up six earned runs in his last outing vs. the White Sox.
Royals: Right-hander Edinson Volquez (6-6, 3.90) will take the mound on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. CT for Game 3 of this series with the Tigers. Volquez threw seven shutout innings in a win over the Indians on Monday.
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.