The Kansas City Royals sent James Shields to the mound to open their series against Detroit Friday night. The Tigers mashed the Royals ace for 12 hits and 7 earned runs in 6.1 innings. The 8-2 defeat left the Royals at 14-14, and dropped them 3 games behind division-leader Detroit.
The loss was particularly demoralizing because Kansas City’s ace was matched up with Detroit’s no. 4 pitcher in Rick Porcello.
The Royals rotation looks like it has some ways to go to equal their motor-city peers.
On the Mound
James Shields just didn’t have it Friday night. Staked to a 1-run lead in the 2nd, Shields yielded a single and two consecutive doubles to go down 2-1 in the top of the 3rd. The Tigers added Alex Avila‘s 2-run home run in the 4th, along with an unearned run on a throwing error by Mike Moustakas.
Shields then imploded in the 7th by yielding a hit batsman and three singles. He left with the bases loaded and one out, with the score at 5-2.
Kelvin Herrera did not allow an earned run in 1.2 IP after relieving Shields in the 6th, but he allowed two out of three inherited runners to score on LF J.D. Martinez‘s double to deep center. Herrera did manage 2 strikeouts.
Mike Mariot mopped up in the 9th without allowing a hitter to reach base.
At the Plate
Obviously, it wasn’t a good day at the plate when the team only scores two runs on 4 hits. Royals hitters couldn’t solve Porcello all night. Not only did Porcello hold them to 4 hits, the Royals failed to draw a walk and struck out six times in his 7 innings.
Billy Butler did slam his first home run of the season in the bottom of the 4th, hitting a 361 foot cannon-shot just inside the left-field foul pole. Butler seems to have broken out of his April slump. Butler is riding a 7 game hitting streak, which has included 2 doubles and his home run. Billy’s average has surged from .195 on April 24 to .236 after Friday night.
Omar Infante continued getting on base going 2-4 with a single, a triple, and a run scored on Eric Hosmer‘s sacrifice fly in the 2nd. Infante has been well worth his 4-year $32 million free-agent deal this winter—at least so far.
The only other Royal to get hit was Mike Moustakas with a two-out double to deep center in the 2nd, but he was stranded when Alcides Escobar struck out. Moose struck out in his two other at-bats.
This and That
I know I’m sounding like a broken record, but the Royals again continued their streak of winning when scoring 4 or more runs (14-0) and losing when scoring less than 4 (0-14).
I must confess, I was wondering why Ned Yost tried to coax the 7th inning out of a clearly struggling James Shields, but I could understand his reasoning because he has Danny Duffy going on Saturday. Yost has already set a pitch limit of 70 on Duffy and wants to keep a fully stocked pen behind hiim. Burning up arms trying to rescue a three-run deficit would have been a bad idea.
While Moose gave up an unearned run on his error in the 4th, he did make a nice diving stop and strong throw to record an out in the 9th.
Rick Porcello had a strong start going 7 IP with 6 strikeouts and allowing only 4 hits and no walks. He lowered his ERA from 3.96 to 3.66 and ran his record to 4-1.
Every Detroit starter got at least one hit. Overall, Detroit hitters slammed 14 hits, drew one walk, and plated 8 runs.
The biggest hitting stars of the night for the Tigers were DH Victor Martinez (3-5 with a single, 2 doubles, and 2 RBIs) and Alex Avila (1-3, 1 HR, and 2 RBIs). J.D. Martinez went 2-4 and broke open the game with his 2-run double in the 7th.
The Royals and Tigers match up for the 2nd game of their 3 games series. Danny Duffy (1-1, 2.16) makes his first start of the season in place of the injured Bruce Chen. Detroit counters with no. 5 starter Drew Smyly (1-1, ERA 3.60). Gametime is 6:10 CST at Kauffman Stadium.
|Ian Kinsler 2B||4||1||2||0||0||0||.291||.735|
|Torii Hunter RF||5||2||2||0||0||0||.306||.824|
|Miguel Cabrera 1B||5||1||1||1||0||1||.273||.728|
|Victor Martinez DH||5||1||3||2||0||0||.315||.859|
|Austin Jackson CF||5||0||1||0||0||1||.300||.881|
|Don Kelly 3B||5||0||1||0||0||1||.292||.763|
|J.D. Martinez LF||4||1||2||2||0||1||.278||.794|
|Alex Avila C||3||1||1||2||1||0||.226||.708|
|Andrew Romine SS||4||1||1||0||0||1||.209||.553|
|Nori Aoki RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||.274||.683|
|Omar Infante 2B||4||1||2||0||0||0||.297||.793|
|Eric Hosmer 1B||3||0||0||1||0||0||.291||.721|
|Billy Butler DH||4||1||1||1||0||1||.236||.592|
|Alex Gordon LF||3||0||0||0||0||1||.262||.697|
|Salvador Perez C||3||0||0||0||0||0||.228||.674|
|Brett Hayes C||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000|
|Mike Moustakas 3B||3||0||1||0||0||2||.156||.567|
|Alcides Escobar SS||3||0||0||0||0||1||.277||.727|
|Jarrod Dyson CF||3||0||0||0||0||0||.293||.602|
|Rick Porcello, W (4-1)||7||4||2||2||0||6||1||3.66||106||71|
|James Shields, L (3-3)||6.1||12||8||7||1||3||1||3.11||105||68|
WP: J Shields (1).
HBP: J Shields (4; I Kinsler).