In a wild night full of lots of offense, the KC Royals returned home to beat the Detroit Tigers, 9-8.
Raise your hand if you expected the Royals offense to pound Tigers starter Justin Verlander tonight. If you are raising your hand, I don’t believe you.
Verlander is putting together another CY Young caliber performance this season and many expected him to roll right over the Royals. Many of the Royals hitters haven’t had much (if any) success against him (ie Alex Gordon).
Instead, the Royals pounced in the very first inning.
After Luis Mendoza put the team in a 3-0 hole (three hits including a homerun), the Royals offense went to work against Verlander with two outs. What was so impressive about the first inning barrage was that Verlander struck out the first two hitters he faced.
Then the aforementioned Gordon doubled. Billy Butler followed with an RBI single. Salvador Perez doubled and Mike Moustakas followed with a two-run single to tie the game at 3-3. The first three hits came on a total of five pitches.
While Mendoza settled down in the 2nd inning, Verlander did not. After striking out Eric Hosmer, Johnny Giavotella got it started with a single. Two singles later, the Royals held a 4-3 lead. Then Gordon doubled again, driving in two runs. Butler singled him in to give the Royals a 7-3 lead.
Well, Mendoza didn’t settle down for too long. He gave up four more hits and three more runs, capped by Prince Fielder‘s two-run double.
Both starters settled down after that. Mendoza left after five innings with a line that looked like this: 5IP, 7H, 6R, BB, 4K. Verlander left after allowing a two out RBI double to Perez in the 6th inning with a line that looked like this: 5.2IP, 12H, 8R, 3BB, 6K. OUCH!
In his second inning of work, Kelvin Herrera gave up a run on a Miguel Cabrera RBI single. Lefty Tim Collins entered and walked Fielder to put the tying run in scoring position. That brought in Aaron Crow, who struck out Delmon Young to end the threat.
Jhonny Peralta homered in the top of the 8th inning off Crow to tie the game. My heart sank as I thought the overuse of the bullpen was coming back to bite the Royals.
But Moose took the bullpen off the hook with an RBI double off lefty reliever Phil Coke with two outs in the bottom of the 8th inning.
Of course, Greg Holland made it interesting in the top of the 9th inning. He walked the first batter he faced, Austin Jackson. AJax went to second base on a ground out and moved to third base on a wild pitch. Holland battled with four sliders to strike out Cabrera and then intentionally walked Fielder.
That brought up Young who hit a deep fly ball down the right field line and into the seats. The umpire immediately ruled the ball foul, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland came out to argue. After heading to look at the replay, the ruling stood on the field. On the very next pitch, Holland got Young to fly out and end the game.
The Royals pounded out 15 hits and went 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position. They hit five doubles and stole two bases. Butler and Moose collected three hits. Alcides Escobar, Gordon, Perez, and Gio each picked up two hits.
What are the chances that this Royals offense will be back on Wednesday to face Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez?
*With the no decision, Verlander has not won a start since a win against NY on August 6th (four straight no decisions).
**For more on the Tigers, check out Motown Lowdown.