The Kansas City Royals (11-8) defeated the Detroit Tigers (10-10) in 1o innings on Thursday. For years, if a Royal starter didn’t have his best stuff, the Royals lost. James Shields struggled at times in this game but willed himself to overcome his control issues, kept his team in the game, and gave them a chance to win the game. Royal hitters taking walks and hitting grand slams in the 10th helped.
On the Mound
Shields went 8 innings, giving up 3 runs on only 5 hits but walking 3 and striking out 4. Shields also unleashed 3 wild pitches in the contest. In fact, in the 4th, Shields walked Prince Fielder, threw 2 wild pitches to Victor Martinez, allowing Fielder t0 move all the way to third, before coaxing him to foul out to third, then Jhonny Peralta hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Fielder. Despite the control problems Shields kept battling and went deep into the game, something Royals starters haven’t done much in recent seasons. Tim Collins pitched a perfect 9th with 2 K’s. Greg Holland wrapped up the game with a perfect 10th.
At the Plate
The Royals did come up with 8 hits against Tiger ace Justin Verlander but only scored 2 runs (1 unearned). After Verlander left the game with a blister after 7, Billy Butler singled, then Jarrod Dyson replaced him as a pinch runner. Dyson promptly stole second and moved to third on a ground out by Eric Hosmer. Lorenzo Cain knocked him in with a sacrifice fly for the tie. In the 10th Cain doubled, Mike Moustakas walked. Tiger reliever Phil Coke threw a wild pitch of his own, moving the base runners up. Even though it set up the force, the Tigers made the questionable decision to intentionally walk the free swinging Jeff Francoeur to load the bases. Little used George Kottaras came up with a big plate appearance, walking with the bases loaded. Chris Getz grounded out to set the table for Alex Gordon‘s huge grand slam. Against a team like Detroit, a team can never have enough insurance.
This and That
The Royals survived a very tough road trip marred by off days, a rain out, a game postponed as a city locked down to catch a mad bomber, and a doubleheader in Fenway to go 4-3 on the trip against some of the best baseball teams in the majors.
KC Kingdom Player of the Game
You have to admire the way Shields just gutted this game out but when you ice a game in the 10th with a grand slam on the road against a division rival, you deserve the POG award.
- James Shields – 2
- Alex Gordon – 4
- Wade Davis – 2
- Lorenzo Cain – 2
- Luis Mendoza
- Billy Butler
- Ervin Santana – 2
- Miguel Tejada
- Jeremy Guthrie
- Eric Hosmer
- Chris Getz
Verlander left after 7 due to a blister on the thumb of his pitching hand. It is something that started to develop his last start. He is listed day-to-day. Torii Hunter is batting .373 so far this season.
AL Central Notes
Minnesota Twins (9-9): Josh Willingham provided the only offense for the Twins Thursday with a solo shot in the 2-1 loss to the Rangers. Vance Worley allowed 2 runs in 5 innings while taking taking his third loss on the season.
Cleveland Indians (8-11): The Indians had an off day on Thursday.
Chicago White Sox (9-12): Ace Chris Sale bounced back from a couple of sub par starts by going 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks, beating the Rays 5-2. He struck out 7. Adam Dunn hit his 4th home run of the season but is still hitting just .108.