FINAL: ROYALS 8, TIGERS 6
The Tigers fought back from an 8-2 deficit and put themselves in positions to be successful numerous times, but they just couldn't get the big hit when they needed it as they fell to Kansas City in the first game of a 3-game set with the Royals
Miguel Cabrera had two RBI tonight, but it was two other at-bats that he'll be thinking about after the game. Cabrera came up to the dish twice, in the third and eighth innings, with the bases juiced. He struck out on both occasions.
Shane Greene showed control problems from the outset, pitching just 4.1 innings, and Blaine Hardy gave up a 3-run homer that helped give the Royals just enough cushion to hold off the Tigers.
In the ninth, Wade Davis closed things down for K.C. He struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia and got the pinch-hitting Tyler Collins to fly out to left field before walking Anthony Gose. Nothing came of the tying run at the plate, however, as Jose Iglesias flew out to center field to end the game.
The Tigers outhit the Royals, 10-9, but they left 12 men on base and that, ultimately, was their demise.
Bottom 8th: Royals 8, Tigers 6
Drew VerHagen got the call for the Tigers in the eight, striking out Salvador Perez to lead things off and getting Omar Infante to ground out. Jarrod Dyson notched a two-out single, but Alcides Escobar grounded out to end the inning.
Last call for the Tiger's bats in the ninth. Due up: Saltalamacchia, Aviles, Gose
Top 8th: Royals 8, Tigers 6
Kelvin Herrera came on in relief of former Tiger Joakim Soria, who loaded the bases for Miguel Cabrera with one out. Herrera dusted off Cabrera with three consecutive sliders, setting up a showdown with Victor Martinez. Herrera lost control of his slider and hit V-Mart with a pitch, pulling the Tigers closer at 8-6, but forcing Martinez out of the game after taking one on the knee.
J.D. Martinez couldn't get the big hit, popping out to end the inning.
Soria struck out Anthony Gose to lead things off in the eight before Jose Iglesias notched an infield hit as Alcides Escobar's great ranging grab and solid throw to the bag wasn't enough to catch the speedy Tiger's shortstop.
Ian Kinsler made things interesting with a single up the middle, bringing the tying run to the plate in Justin Upton, who was able to draw a walk and load the bases for Cabrera for the second time tonight.
That was the end of Soria's night as Ned Yost went to Herrera.
Bottom 7th: Royals 8, Tigers 5
Kyle Ryan got the call for the Tigers in the seventh, and he did his job.
Ryan got Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer to ground out to start the inning before giving up a two-out double to Kendrys Morales. No worries, though, as Ryan got Alex Gordon to line out to Miguel Cabrera, who showed off his glove with a nice snag, to end the inning.
Top 7th: Royals 8, Tigers 5
Victor Martinez notched a two-out single to right field and J.D. Martinez drew a walk, and that's all the help Jarrod Saltalamacchia needed, going deep to center field for a 3-run bomb (5th on the year) that brings the Tigers within shouting distance of the world champs.
Danny Duffy was the new reliever for the Royals and he announced his presence in a big way by striking out Justin Upton and Miguel Cabrera to start the inning, but he couldn't keep the good times rolling with two outs.
Bottom 6th: Royals 8, Tigers 2
Blaine Hardy came back out for the sixth inning and had himself a much better sequence than he did in the fifth, setting down the Royals in order.
Hardy got Jarrod Dyson to ground out to first base, struck out Alcides Escobar and got Mike Moustakas to ground out to second to end the inning.
It's not fair to judge Hardy because he hung one breaking ball in the fifth inning in his first appearance of the season. He's looked good against every other batter he's faced and will be counted on to pitch some tough innings this season for Brad Ausmus' team.
Top 6th: Royals 8, Tigers 2
Royals reliever Luke Hochevar was called upon after a tough fifth inning for starter Yodano Ventura.
Hochevar carved up Anthony Gose, got Jose Iglesias to ground out and got Ian Kinsler to fly out harmlessly to center field.
The Royals have an excellent bullpen. Trailing by six runs, the Tigers have quite the mountain to climb and only nine outs to spare.
Bottom 5th: Royals 8, Tigers 2
After strutting his stuff in the first at-bat of the inning by striking out Lorenzo Cain, Shane Greene offered up a meatball to Eric Hosmer that the Royals first baseman went the other way with, narrowly missing a long ball and settling for a one-out double to left center field.
After popping Kendrys Morales with a pitch, Greene was pulled having thrown 86 pitches. It just wasn't his night.
Blaine Hardy got the call from the bullpen for his first appearance of the season after being taken off the DL. At first, Hardy answered the bell, striking out Alex Gordon on a beautiful breaking ball. But he hung one to Salvador Perez with two outs and Perez took the pitch and slammed it over the wall in left field to give the Royals a commanding 8-2 lead.
Top 5th: Royals 5, Tigers 2
Ian Kinsler notched a one-out single, giving the Tigers big bats yet another chance to drive in some runs against Yordano Ventura.
Justin Upton worked a walk, meaning Miguel Cabrera was back at the dish with ducks on the pond after striking out with the bases loaded in the third inning.
This time, Miggy delivered, smacking a two-RBI double with a beautiful piece of hitting as he went the other way with a pitch on the inside part of the plate to cut the K.C. lead to 5-2.
Victor Martinez flew out to center field for the second out and J.D. Martinez drew a four-pitch walk, bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who notched a base hit to right field but hit it too hard to score the run. Mike Aviles had a chance to endear himself to Tigers fans that were upset with hot-hitting Nick Castellanos' benching tonight, but he couldn't get it done, flying out to right field to end the inning.
The Tigers didn't get as many as they would have liked, but they're finally on the board and are at least in striking distance of the Royals entering the later innings.
It's shaping up to be a battle of the bullpens sooner rather than later, as Ventura's pitch count has been elevated to 98.
Bottom 4th: Royals 5, Tigers 0
Mark the fourth inning as the highlight of Shane Greene's night as he finally set the Royals down in order, throwing just seven pitches in the process.
Jarrod Dyson popped out to leadoff the inning, Alcides Escobar grounded out and Mike Moustakas flew out to left field.
Greene's pitch count is now 76.
Top 4th: Royals 5, Tigers 0
Jarrod Saltalamacchia drew a one-out walk, the Tigers' first of the night, but all that means in the end is that he is the fifth Tiger stranded through just four innings as Mike Aviles struck out swinging and Anthony Gose flew out to left field to end the inning.
J.D. Martinez grounded out to shortstop to leadoff the inning.
Bottom 3rd: Royals 5, Tigers 0
Shane Greene bounced back after a leadoff walk to Lorenzo Cain, getting Eric Hosmer to ground into a double play.
Well, the good times didn't last.
Kendrys Morales beat the shift to the left side of the diamond with a two-out single to left field and Greene issued his fourth walk of the night to Alex Gordon (again, on four pitches). Salvador Perez made Greene pay with a two RBI double to left field to stretch the Royals lead to 5-0.
Mercifully, the damage stopped there as Omar Infante popped out to end the inning.
Greene's control has been off all night and his pitch count through three innings is now at an unbelievable 68.
Top 3rd: Royals 3, Tigers 0
Down three runs, the Tigers got a pleasant surprise when Justin Upton dumped a shallow single into right field load the bases for the game's best hitter, Miguel Cabrera, with one out. The big man fell behind in the count, 0-2, but battled back to fill it up before he struck out swinging at a nasty slider from Yordano Ventura, who has four punchouts tonight.
The Tigers still had a shot to get some runs with Victor Martinez coming to the dish, but the cleanup hitter fouled out on the second pitch to end the threat.
Anthony Gose notched a leadoff single and just when it looked like Jose Iglesias grounded into a tailor-made double play back to the pitcher, Yordano Ventura threw the ball away and the Tigers were left with men on first and second with nobody out.
Bottom 2nd: Royals 3, Tigers 0
Shane Greene issued a leadoff walk to Kendrys Morales and another to Alex Gordon before getting Salvador Perez to pop out for the first out of the inning. Omar Infante flew out to left field before Jarrod Dyson singled to left field. Justin Upton had Morales nailed at the plate, but the ball took a hop and got by Jarrod Saltalamacchia to score the run.
It wasn't a short hop to the plate. That's a play Saltalamacchia has to make.
Alcides Escobar added to the Tigers' misery, singling to left field to score both runners and push the score to 3-0.
Greene fell behind every hitter in the second inning as he had trouble navigating the bottom of the Royals' order. His pitch count is elevated at 51.
Top 2nd: Tigers 0, Royals 0
J.D. Martinez notched a one-out single to right field, but the Tigers couldn't do anything with the man on base as Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out swinging after working himself into a full count and Mike Aviles grounded out to end the inning.
Victor Martinez worked the count in his favor to leadoff the inning and put a good swing into a pitch that was on that sweet spot on the inside part of the plate, but he came up just shy of a home run as the ball was caught by Jarrod Dyson at the warning track in right field.
Bottom 1st: Tigers 0, Royals 0
Mike Moustakas sized up a big ol' meatball from Shane Greene up in the zone and drilled it to right center field for a one-out double. Lorenzo Cain drove one to right field but right into the glove of J.D. Martinez. With Moustakas tagging up and now on third, Greene got Eric Hosmer to ground out to first base to end the inning.
Greene threw a nice slider to get Alcides Escobar to chase and strike out to start the inning.
Top 1st: Tigers 0, Royals 0
Yordano Ventura didn't need much time to warm before showing off his power arm, dialing up the fastball to 98 miles per hour in the first at-bat of the game and getting Ian Kinsler to foul out down the first base line.
Justin Upton is now hitless in his last 12 at-bats after chasing a dirty slider and Miguel Cabrera fell victim to the same pitch.
Ventura is dialed in early and that could mean a long night for Tigers' hitters.
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Justin Upton, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. J.D. Martinez, RF
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
7. Mike Aviles, 3B
8. Anthony Gose, CF
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
Shane Greene, P
1. Alcides Escobar, SS
2. Mike Moustakas, 3B
3. Lorenzo Cain, CF
4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
5. Kendrys Morales, DH
6. Alex Gordon, LF
7. Salvador Perez, C
8. Omar Infante, 2B
9. Jarrod Dyson, RF
Yordano Ventura, P
TIGERS VS. ROYALS
When: Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
TV / radio: FSD+ / WWJ 950 AM
Pitching matchup: Shane Greene (1-0, 2.57) vs. Yordano Ventura (0-0, 2.45)