Live Tigers blog: Tigers bullpen crushed by Royals

Geoff Robinson, The Detroit News
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Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer throws against the Kansas City Royals on Friday, June 17, 2016, at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.


At one point and time, this game was a pitcher's duel between two young studs. Michael Fulmer and Yordano Ventura lived up to their billing as two of the game's best young pitchers, taking a scoreless game into the sixth inning.

Fulmer fell just shy of setting an MLB rookie record for consecutive scoreless innings when he gave up a sixth inning home run to Salvador Perez. Entering the seventh inning, it was still just a 1-0 game as the Tigers turned things over to the bullpen.

That's when the Tigers imploded. Questionable handling of the bullpen kept Shane Greene in to face the dangerous left-handed Eric Hosmer, who promptly delivered an RBI single. Then it all just started to snowball. Blaine Hardy gave up five runs in the eighth.

The offense showed up for the first time in the ninth inning when Miguel Cabrera hit a leadoff home run for the team's first tally of the night. Needless to say, it was too little, too late. After Mike Aviles grounded out, Nick Castellanos singled back up the middle and Justin Upton hit a bomb of his own to make it 10-3. After Steven Moya flew out to center field, James McCann singled back up the middle. Unfortunately for the Tigers, that's where the comeback ended. Andrew Romine struck out swinging to end the game.

Fulmer tossed 5.2 innings tonight. He gave up five hits and one run, walked four and struck out five.

Ventura pitched 6.1 innings, giving up six hits while striking out five.

Bottom 8th: Royals 10, Tigers 0

Blaine Hardy came in for the eighth inning and the K.C. bats couldn't have been happier.

Cheslor Cuthbert and Whit Merrifield led the inning off with a pair of doubles, moving up to second and third after Alcides Escobar grounded into a fielder's choice.

That's when Eric Hosmer struck again, singling to center field to put the Royals firmly in control of this one at 7-0. Lorenzo Cain followed with a single of his own before Hardy got Salvador Perez to line out. With two men on, Kendrys Morales hit one deep to right field and out to make it 10-0.

Again, this was a 1-0 game entering the seventh inning.

Top 8th: Royals 5, Tigers 0

Andrew Romine grounded out to first base, Ian Kinsler flew out to right field and Jose Iglesias grounded out to third as the Tigers went down in order in the eighth.

The offense has managed just one hit since the fourth inning.

Bottom 7th: Royals 5, Tigers 0

With two men on and the left-handed Eric Hosmer coming to the dish, Brad Ausmus elected to leave Shane Greene in the game instead of going to Justin Wilson, who was warmed up, in the bullpen.

Big mistake. 

Hosmer singled to left field to score Cheslor Cuthbert and give the Royals a late 2-0 lead.

Greene was promptly shown the door in favor of Mark Lowe, who gave up a two-run double to Salvador Perez that stretched the K.C. lead to 4-0. Paulo Orlando singled, scoring Perez and moving Morales up to second. At 5-0, Lowe was finally able to stop the bleeding by getting Brett Eibner to ground out.

Cuthbert led the inning off with a single and stole second before Greene got Whit Merrifield to fly out for the frame's first out. Greene walked Alcides Escobar to set the stage for Hosmer's RBI.

Top 7th: Royals 1, Tigers 0

With two on, Whit Merrifield made a great diving stop to rob Steven Moya of a potential game-tying RBI single, getting the force out at second base to put runners on the corners for James McCann. Moya moved up to second base on a wild throw by K.C. reliever Kelvin Herrera, putting the potential go-ahead run into scoring position, but James McCann grounded out to end the threat.

Victor Martinez dumped a leadoff single into left field and moved up to second base on a misplay by Lorenzo Cain, and after Nick Castellanos struck out for the second time tonight, Justin Upton reached safely on a throwing error by Cheslor Cuthbert at third base. The error prompted Ned Yost to go to his bullpen and bring out Kelvin Herrera to face Moya.

Ventura tossed 6.1 innings, giving up six hits while striking out five for the Royals.

Bottom 6th: Royals 1, Tigers 0

With just one more out to get out of the inning and put himself in position to set an MLB scoreless innings streak record, Michael Fulmer hung a breaking ball that Salvador Perez crushed over the left field wall to give Kansas City a 1-0 over the Tigers with two outs in the sixth.

Following the long ball, Fulmer was a little rattled. He issued a pair of two-out walks Kendrys Morales and Paulo Orlando. That's when Brad Ausmus went and got the rookie in favor of Shane Greene, who came in to strike out Brett Eibner to get out of the inning.

Fulmer's streak officially ends at 33.1. Though he came into tonight at 28.1, he was not given credit for the two-thirds he pitched in the sixth, as stats don't allow to count for innings in which runs are scored. 

More importantly, the Tigers now find themselves trailing and Yordano Ventura isn't showing any signs of slowing down.

Top 6th: Tigers 0, Royals 0

Ian Kinsler was robbed by Alcides Escobar on what should have been a leadoff single up the middle of the diamond. Jose Iglesias grounded out to Escobar in a more routine fashion and Miguel Cabrera grounded out to third to end the frame.

These offenses just can't get anything done tonight against these stud pitchers. Yordano Ventura's pitch count is up to 91.

Bottom 5th: Tigers 0, Royals 0

Michael Fulmer continues to duel and he's bumped his scoreless innings streak up to 33.1, just two innings shy of breaking the Major League Baseball rookie record of 35 set by Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.

Fulmer set the Royals down in order in the fifth and the big question now is if Fulmer will be in the game long enough to set the record. Brad Ausmus has shown a tendency to not stretch the young starter out. After the fifth, Fulmer has thrown 83 pitches.

Top 5th: Tigers 0, Royals 0

Steven Moya flied out to center field, James McCann grounded out to shortstop and Andrew Romine struck out swinging as the pitcher's duel between Michael Fulmer and Yordano Ventura continues.

At this point, it's a matter of who blinks first. If neither does, this game will be in the hands of the bullpen.

Ventura has thrown 77 pitches. He has four punch outs and hasn't walked anyone yet.

Bottom 4th: Tigers 0, Royals 0

Despite issuing a one-out walk to Kendry Morales, Michael Fulmer bounced back and struck out Paulo Orlando and Brett Eibner to finish the fourth inning. The young Tigers' starter now has four punch outs on the night.

Fulmer's scoreless innings streak is now at 32.1. He's thrown 69 pitches.

Top 4th: Tigers 0, Royals 0

Miguel Cabrera notched his second single of the night, this time in the leadoff role, but Victor Martinez grounded into a double play to stall any plans the Tigers might have had for a big inning. Nick Castellanos was able to drive the ball back up the middle for a single of his own, but Justin Upton struck out swinging to end the frame.

The Tigers have five hits tonight and have at least one in every inning off of Yordano Ventura. They've yet to figure out a way to string them together as this game remains a scoreless pitcher's duel. 

Bottom 3rd: Tigers 0, Royals 0

Eric Hosmer drew a walk to load the bases for Lorenzo Cain, but Michael Fulmer dialed it in and kept his scoreless innings streak alive by getting a ground ball double play to end the inning.

Fulmer's scoreless streak has now reached 31.1 innings.

Cheslor Cuthbert battled Michael Fulmer for nine pitches and eventually got the best of the young starter, dropping a leadoff single into left field. Whit Merrifield reached on a surprise bunt, putting men on first and second with nobody out for Alcides Escobar, who laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up for Hosmer. 

After laboring through the frame, Fulmer's pitch count is up to 53.

Top 3rd: Tigers 0, Royals 0

Andrew Romine dropped a leadoff single into center field and Ian Kinsler appeared to have a double down the left field line, but Brett Eibner made a nice running catch to get the out and keep Romine at first base.

In the next at-bat, Jose Iglesias grounded into an inning-ending double play.

That's a bad break for the Tigers as Kinsler almost assuredly had himself and Romine on second and third if not for Eibner's hustle play.

Bottom 2nd: Tigers 0, Royals 0

Kendrys Morales notched the first hit of the night for Kansas City with a two-out single to right field on a first pitch fastball from Michael Fulmer and Paulo Orlando drilled a double to center field (on the first pitch) to put men on second and third for the Royals.

Fortunately for the Tigers, Fulmer came back to punch out Brett Eibner to get out of the jam.

Lorenzo Cain grounded out to third and Salvador Perez struck out swinging on a nasty slider to start the inning.

For all of the hype surrounding Fulmer, he's still a young pitcher and needs to mix up his stuff on the first pitch of at-bats. Both of those hits by the Royals were guys that were sitting dead red on the fastball.

Scoreless innings streak has now reached 30.1 for Fulmer, whose thrown 

Top 2nd: Tigers 0, Royals 0

Yordano Ventura knows he has to be good tonight going up against Michael Fulmer, and so far, he's off to a pretty decent start.

Ventura struck out Nick Castellanos and Justin Upton before a Steven Moya infield single gave the Tigers a runner with two outs. James McCann couldn't make something out of it, though, flying out to right field to end the inning.

Ventura has thrown 32 pitches through the first two frames.

Bottom 1st: Tigers 0, Royals 0

With a perfect first inning, Michael Fulmer set a Tigers rookie record by extending his scoreless innings streak to 29.1, breaking the previous record of 28.2 innings set by John Hiller in 1967.

Whit Merrifield grounded out, Alcides Escobar flew out and Eric Hosmer grounded out to third to end the inning.

Top 1st: Tigers 0, Royals 0

Runs could be tough to come by for both sides tonight as Michael Fulmer and Yordano Ventura do battle in this key American League Central Division matchup.

The Tigers were able to notch a two-out single off the bat of Miguel Cabrera as second baseman Whit Merrifield couldn't quite get to a ball up the middle. Nothing came of it, however, as Victor Martinez grounded out to end the inning.

Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias both lined out to right field to start the inning.


1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Jose Iglesias, SS

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. Nick Castellanos, 3B

6. Justin Upton, LF

7. Steven Moya, RF

8. James McCann, C

9. Andrew Romine, CF

Michael Fulmer


1. White Merrifield, 2B

2. Alcides Escobar, SS

3. Eric Hosmer, 1B

4. Lorenzo Cain, CF

5. Salvador Perez, C

6. Kendrys Morales, DH

7. Paulo Orlando, RF

8. Brett Eibner, LF

9. Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B

Yordano Ventura


When: Friday, 8:15 p.m.

Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.

Pitching matchup: RHP Michael Fulmer (7-1, 2.52) vs. RHP Yordano Ventura (5-4, 4.93)

Local TV: Fox Sports Detroit

National TV: MLB Network

Internet streaming: MLB.TV (blacked out in Detroit market)

Local radio: 97.1 FM

Satellite radio: SIRI Internet 849

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