DETROIT, Mich. – A lead-off, opposite field home run by Miguel Cabrera was the decisive blow in a 6-5 Tigers victory on Saturday. The Royals fought back from deficits throughout the game with big hits from Salvador Perez and Chris Getz in the later innings, but they never held a lead and are now seven and a half games behind Detroit in the central division race.
Kansas City starter Wade Davis got roughed up early, surrendering three runs in the first two innings. He didn’t make it out of the fourth inning, giving up four earned runs on eight hits with only one strikeout before getting replaced by Will Smith.
The Kansas City bats had a stout showing with 14 total hits but had rallies fizzle in the first, fourth and eighth innings. The eighth was particularly troubling, the Royals tied the game after newly acquired Emilio Bonifacio singled and worked his way around the bases with some help from a Chris Getz single.
With nobody out, the Royals had Getz on third and Alcides Escobar but couldn’t bring them home. David Lough popped out and the red-hot Eric Hosmer got intentionally walked to load the bases. Billy Butler and Alex Gordon failed to bring in the go-ahead run, neither hit the ball out of the infield, though Butler hit a smash that was speared by Cabrera at third base.
The Royals still have a chance to take the five-game series after they swept Friday’s doubleheader. It will be Bruce Chen on the hill against former Mizzou standout Max Scherzer. Scherzer at 17-1 is in the front-runner for the American League Cy Young Award, but Chen may be baseball’s hottest pitcher at present.
Chen has gone at least six innings in all six of his starts this year, dropping his ERA in the process to 1.62 on the year. He was out dueled by Miami phenomenon Jose Fernandez last Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium, a game the Royals lost 1-0.