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Royals vs. Tigers: Santana Out Duels Fister For 1-0 Shutout

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Resiliency. That is what the Kansas City Royals (78-70) are showing every day. They bounced back for a 1-0 shutout against the Detroit Tigers (85-63) after losing to them on Friday. Kansas City remains 3.5 back of the Tampa Bay Rays with just 14 games to go.

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

On the Mound

Ervin Santana continues to win the hearts of Royals fans with his calm leadership and talented arm. Santana showed off his magic for 6.2 innings, blanking the Tigers on 5 hits and a walk, He struck out 5. The Tigers only produced 3 hits in the first 6 innings. Santana was a rock for the Royals.

Will Smith relieved Santana in the 7th with 2 on and two outs. He enticed rookie Nick Castellanos to fly out to center to end the threat.

Luke Hochevar pitched the 8th to set up Greg Holland. The Royals closer was very careful with Prince Fielder and walked him to lead off the inning. Holland retired the next two hitters before allowing Omar Infante to double down the left field line. Alex Gordon scampered over quickly to retrieve the ball, fired it off to his cut off man, Alcides Escobar, who whirled and threw home, slightly off target in foul territory.

Salvador Perez snatched at the ball and quickly brought it back into play, just in time to drop the tag on Fielder just before Fielder tumbled into home. Out! Game Over!

At the Plate

In the first inning, Alex Gordon singled then was tripled home by Eric Hosmer. That was the only run the Royals could manage despite the fact they had plenty of base runners. The Royals left the bases loaded in the 5th when Chris Getz, playing for an ejected Emilio Bonifacio, popped up weakly to center field. Kansas City also stranded 2 runners in each of the 7th and 8th innings.

This and That

The outfield assist was Gordon’s league leading 15th of the season, and his 52nd over the past three years.

Emilio Bonifacio has been a huge spark for the Royals this past month but he cannot be getting thrown out of games for arguing balls and strikes. If he does, that leaves the Royals with Chris Getz popping up weakly to outfielders with the bases loaded in close games, and that just cannot happen anymore.

Getz also screwed up in the 8th after walking (good thing), and moving to 2nd on a Eric Hosmer surprise bunt single (???). Billy Butler then flied out to right fielder Torii Hunter in relatively shallow right. Getz tagged up and was thrown out by a mile at third. Just plain stupid.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

The KCK POG goes to Ervin Santana for taking a 1st inning run by his offense and making it stand up. Honorable mention to Gordon for yet another outfield assist and scoring the games only run. Also to Eric Hosmer for his RBI triple, and Salvador Perez for making a really nice play at the plate to end the game.

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers

One has to wonder what Detroit manager Jim Leyland was thinking when he did not lift the slow footed Prince Fielder for a pinch runner when a single run would tie the game. And, why was Fielder even sent home. It can’t be a secret that Alex Gordon gets to the ball quickly and gets rid of it even quicker. Perez saved the night with a good play but if Escobar’s relay was a just a little more accurate, which it is normally the case, Fielder would have been out by a mile.

Lost was Doug Fister‘s terrific night. He allowed just that one run in 7.2 innings and had to pitch out of trouble a couple of times.

Up Next

Although the Royals are now guaranteed a season series win against Detroit for the first time since 2008, they need to keep winning games. Jeremy Guthrie (14-10, 4.11 ERA) has his work cut out for him if he is going to outperform Max Scherzer (19-3, 3.01 ERA). He will need more help from his offense than what Santana received.

AL Central Notes

Cleveland Indians (80-68): The Indians stayed hot as the White Sox have just plain rolled over and played dead this week. Ubaldo Jimenez went 8-1 innings, giving up just 1 run on 8 hits. Carlos Santana had 3 hits and 2 RBI, and Asdrubal Cabrera had 2 hits and 2 RBI.

Minnesota Twins (63-84): The Twins have put up no resistance whatsoever against the Rays, losing 7-0 Saturday. They only managed 4 hits in the game.

Chicago White Sox (58-90): The White Sox, who have played so well against the Royals, and so terrible against everyone, might as well just wave the white flag and go home early.

WILD CARD STANDINGS

  1. TEXAS RANGERS (81-66, 0 GB)
  2. TAMPA BAY RAYS (81-66, 0 GB)
  3. CLEVELAND INDIANS (80-68, 1.5 GB)
  4. NEW YORK YANKEES (79-70, 3 GB)
  5. KANSAS CITY ROYALS (78-70, 3.5 GB)
  6. BALTIMORE ORIOLES (78-70, 3.5 GB)