By Jason Beck and Jeffrey Flanagan
MLB.com |@beckjason |
DETROIT -- There would be no late-inning comeback for the Tigers this time around. The Royals made sure of it, scoring five runs in 1 2/3 innings against Mike Pelfrey before adding on with a three-run fifth for an 8-4 win on Saturday night at Comerica Park.
The Royals batted around in the opening inning as Pelfrey, coming off back-to-back performances with six innings of one-run ball, struggled to command. Alex Gordon and Cheslor Cuthbert singled in runs in the rally before Alcides Escobar singled and scored on a Dustin Molleken wild pitch in the second.
"I think we did a good job today of just kind of going up there with a game plan and adjusting after the first couple batters," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. 'It just looked like Pelfrey was having a little trouble finding the strike zone there, so we put in some good at-bats in the first inning. A lot of guys toned down the aggressiveness a little bit."
"This game's on me," Pelfrey said. "I put the bullpen in a bad spot, put the offense in a bad spot. I was terrible. I got what I deserved."
Ian Kinsler doubled and scored in the first inning before his two-run homer in the third slugged Detroit back into the contest, but Hosmer's RBI single in the fifth helped the Royals run away once again. Danny Duffy (5-1) logged 6 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts for the win, improving to 3-0 against the Tigers since the start of last season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED All-important tack-on runs: There isn't much manager Ned Yost likes more than tack-on runs, and the Royals did a good job of getting those to hold off the Tigers. After the four first-inning runs, which matched a season high, they added a run in the second when Escobar scored on a wild pitch. The Tigers crept within 5-3 before a three-run Royals' fifth put it out of reach. Cuthbert, Jarrod Dyson and Hosmer drove in the runs.
"Yeah, it was fun [offensively] especially early," Yost said. " ... You jump to a 4-0 lead that's good, but you have to find ways to tack on runs. Got one in the second and three in the [fifth]. We took some walks. We found some holes. It was good."
Kinsler crushes again: A day after Kinsler opened his second half with his 35th career leadoff home run, he homered again on Saturday, this time driving an 0-2 changeup from Duffy over the left-field wall for a two-run jack. Kinsler's 18th home run set a new season high for him as a Tiger, and marks his highest total since hitting 19 for the Rangers in 2012.
Duffy said of the home run, "I didn't put that changeup where I wanted it."
Duffy so-so: The Royals starter benefited from the big offensive show and logged six solid innings, giving up three runs, all at the hands of Kinsler. But Duffy faltered in the seventh, giving up three singles and a run before being chased. Reliever Peter Moylan prevented a bigger inning by getting Jose Iglesias to hit into a double play to end a threat and keep the score at 8-4.
"I felt like I battled out there," Duffy said. "I left a couple pitches over the plate that they made me pay for. Overall, I felt like I threw the ball pretty well."
Collins plates a run: One night after hitting a tying homer upon his return, Tyler Collins got the lefty-lefty start against Duffy and came through with an RBI single in the seventh, sending a ground ball through the right side to score Nick Castellanos and chase Duffy from an 8-4 game.
"I thought I might be off [after the All-Star break]. I didn't expect to feel like I hadn't thrown a ball before. It's embarrassing." -- Pelfrey
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
According to research on baseball-reference, Pelfrey became the first Tigers starter since Mike Maroth 11 years ago with four walks and no strikeouts in fewer than two innings. Maroth suffered a similar fate against Seattle on July 27, 2005.
With two walks on Saturday night, Royals catcher Salvador Perez now has 15, eclipsing last year's total for the entire season.
DAVIS PERFECT IN RETURN
Royals closer Wade Davis worked a 1-2-3 ninth after being activated from the disabled list (right forearm strain) earlier in the day. Davis mopped up the ninth by retiring the Tigers in order with a strikeout, a weak popup and a groundout.
"For the most part that was pretty good," Davis said. "I felt as free and easy as I have in a long time in terms of the forearm." More >
WHAT'S NEXT Royals: Right-hander Yordano Ventura (6-7, 5.15 ERA) gets the start on Sunday at 12:10 p.m. CT in the series finale at Comerica Park. Ventura gave up three runs over seven innings in his last start, a 3-2 loss to Seattle at Kauffman Stadium.
Tigers: First-half rookie sensation Michael Fulmer (9-2, 2.11) makes his first start of the second half on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET against a Royals team that beat him last month despite 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball.