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Royals Recap: Moustakas Homers, Has 3 Hits In Win Against Tigers


Maybe, just maybe, last night was the boost  Mike Moustakas‘ offensive turn around needed to take off in a big way. Moustakas led the Kansas City Royals (45-49) to a 6-5 victory over the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers (52-44). The Royals are going for an important series sweep this afternoon at 1:10.

Jun 18, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) singles in the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

On the Mound

Jeremy Guthrie, as has been the case for the past several starts, scuffled along for most of the night. He did gut out 6 innings but did surrender 5 runs and 10 hits. The biggest difference was that on Saturday, the offense actually scored some runs. Four relievers combined for 3 scoreless innings, including Greg Holland, who notched his 24th save.

At the Plate

Mike Moustakas hit his 7th home run of the season, one of his three hits on the evening. He scored 2 runs and had 1 RBI. His .221 average is the highest it has been since May 10th. His average has slowly been creeping up since the crossed the .200 plateau for the last time on June 19th. He’s not setting the world on fire but the slow but steady progress is encouraging.

Salvador Perez had a big 2-run double in the third but was thrown out trying to take third on the throw. He had 3 RBI on the night.

Alcides Escobar went hitless again, and failed to get the ball out of the infield with the bases loaded for the second straight night. Billy Butler left 5 runners on during the contests. Chris Getz, he of the AAA hot hand, has not scratched out a hit since his recall, and is hitting .208. His average is just .002 higher than Johnny Giavotella‘s, but with 110 more at bats.

This and That

Moustakas had 15 home runs before the All-Star break last season. He has just hit 12 since.

In his last 17 games, Escobar has but one multiple hit game. He is just 12-65 (.185) in those 17 games with an OPS of .475.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

Perez had a really nice night but I’m going with Moustakas. We are looking for the positives with Moose right now because his turnaround is imperative if the Royals stand any chance whatsoever of getting back into the divisional race, and staying in it.

Jul 20, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Greg Holland (56) is congratulated by catcher Salvador Perez (13) after the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers

It was the Tigers’ turn to fail to come up with big hits. The Tigers left 11 on base in the 1-run loss. They had 13 hits, including 3 each by Victor Martinez and Alex Avila, plus 3 walks.

Justin Verlander just did not look as scary last night as he normally does. He gave up 6 runs (1 unearned) on 8 hits and 4 walks, striking out just 3, in his 5.2 innings. He usually just mows Royals hitters down.

Up Next

Every game in this series has been big for the Royals but by winning the first two, the sweep is now set up. I have bielved for a week that the only way Kansas City can hope to be in the race was to sweep the Tigers this weekend. If they win today, they are only 5 back but if they lose, they are 7 back. That 2-game swing is gigantic. This is a big game and the Royals have “Big Game” James Shields (4-6, 3.21 ERA) on the bump opposite Doug Fister (7-5, 4.02 ERA). It is games like this where Shields can prove his ace status.

AL Central Notes

Cleveland Indians (51-46): Once again, the Indians were unable to take advantage of a Tigers loss. Cleveland fell to the Twins 3-2. Jason Kipnis had 2 of the Indians’ 5 hits, including a home run, and he accounted for both runs. Corey Kluber pitched 5 scoreless innings.

Minnesota Twins (41-53): The Twins are trying to help the Royals out. Kevin Correia gave up 2 runs on just 3 hits in 6 innings to get the win over the Indians. Give the Twins credit for starting the second half scrapping away and showing no tendencies to just roll over.

Chicago White Sox (38-56): The White Sox offense exploded for 10 runs on 13 hits Saturday. Alejandro De Aza went 4-5, Alex Rios 3-5, with a home and 5 RBI, and rookie Josh Phegley 3-4 in the 10-6 win over Atlanta.