FINAL: TIGERS 10, ROYALS 7
The Tigers used two innings to score all 10 of their runs, using a four-run eighth inning against an old friend to save their bullpen and hold on in Kansas City, 10-7.
Francisco Rodriguez was given the ball with the Tigers clinging to a 7-6 lead in the seventh inning. Rodriguez continued to struggle in close games, giving up a two-run home run to Eric Hosmer.
It appeared the Tigers were in full meltdown mode.
But then came a godsend in the form ofJoakim Sora. The Tigers jumped on their former closer for four runs in the eighth inning, including a two-RBI single from Miguel Cabrera.
Daniel Norris only gave the Tigers five innings but did leave with a 6-3 lead. Shane Greene and Blaine Hardy allowed Kansas City to put a pair on the board to close the gap before Rodriguez's blunder in the seventh. Norris wasn't terrible. He would've given the Tigers another inning if he weren't forced to throw extra pitches in the third after his defense (Jose Iglesias and Andrew Romine) cost him two outs on what should have been an inning-ending double play.
Norris' final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, BB, 4 K, 96 pitches.
In the ninth, Justin Wilson didn't make things easy on himself when he walked Mike Moustakas to leadoff the inning. He did bounce back quickly, though, as Lorenzo Cain flew out to center field, Eric Hosmer flew out to left field and Salvador Perez flew out to center as Wilson picked up his fourth save of the season.
Tomorrow's matchup: Justin Verlander (4-3, 4.87) vs. Eric Skoglund (First career start)
Top 9th: Tigers 10, Royals 7
J.D. Martinez flew out to right field, Justin Upton struck out swinging and Nick Castellanos flew out to right field as the Tigers went down in order against new Royals reliever Kevin McCarthy.
Bottom 8th: Tigers 10, Royals 7
Jorge Soler grounded out to first, Alex Gordon did the same and Alcides Escobar struck out swinging as Alex Wilson worked a perfect eighth frame out of the Tigers bullpen.
Top 8th: Tigers 10, Royals 7
Justin Upton got things started with a single to left field off of ex-Tiger Joakim Soria. Nick Castellanos was able to work a walk, putting the Tigers in business with runners on first and second. Alex Presley stepped to the dish and came up big with a single to right center that tied the game at 7-7 and put runners on the corners.
In the next at-bat, Nick Castellanos came home on a wild pitch from Soria, pushing the Tigers ahead, 8-7.
Jose Iglesias followed with a single to right field, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. After Soria walked the bases loaded, he was pulled from the game in favor of Matt Strahm. Strahm struck out Alex Avila looking, but he wasn't going to get Miguel Cabrera, who drilled a two-RBI single into center field that gave the Tigers a 10-7 lead.
Victor Martinez grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Bottom 7th: Royals 7, Tigers 6
Francisco Rodriguez got the call from the Tigers bullpen with a one-run lead late in the game.
It didn't go well.
After issuing a walk to Lorenzo Cain, Rodriguez gave up a two-run home run to Eric Hosmer that puts the Royals back on top at 7-6.
After two quick outs, Whit Merrifield took his first shot at completing the cycle, but he couldn't get the single he needed and instead flew out to center field to end the inning.
Top 7th: Tigers 6, Royals 5
Victor Martinez dropped a one-out single into left field, but after Kansas City lifted Seth Maness following the hit, J.D. Martinez grounded into an inning-ending double play on the first pitch from new reliever Peter Moylan.
Miguel Cabrera grounded out to second to leadoff the inning.
Bottom 6th: Tigers 6, Royals 5
Shane Greene got the call from the Tigers bullpen and gave up a single to center field on his very first pitch to Salvador Perez. After Jorge Bonifacio flew out to right field, Whit Merrifield struck again, this time with a double to right field that put runners at second and third. Greene then issued a walk to Jorge Soler that loaded the bases for Alex Gordon.
That was the end of the line for Greene, who gave way to Blaine Hardy, who didn't fare much better when he walked Alex Gordon and allowed the Royals to cut into the Tigers lead at 6-4. Alcides Escobar hit a sacrifice fly to to center field to tighten things up further at 6-5. With men on first and second, Hardy got Mike Moustakas to fly out to left field to finally get out of the inning.
Merrifield is now just a single away from hitting for the cycle.
Top 6th: Tigers 6, Royals 3
Jose Iglesias notched a one-out single to left center off of Royals reliever Seth Maness. Andrew Romine grounded into a fielder's choice, allowing Iglesias to move into scoring position at second base. Alex Avila couldn't get him home, though, striking out to end the frame.
Alex Presley flew out to left field to start the inning.
Bottom 5th: Tigers 6, Royals 3
Alcides Escobar led things off with a single to right center, but Daniel Norris was able to get three straight outs to get out of the inning.
Norris' pitch count is up to 96. He's surrendered six hits, while striking out four and walking just one. Norris may get a short leash for the sixth if Brad Ausmus is feeling generous.
Top 5th: Tigers 6, Royals 3
J.D. Martinez capped a big inning for the Tigers offense with a 3-run home run to left field, his eighth dinger of the year, that puts the Tigers up 6-3 on Kansas City.
Miguel Cabrera stepped to the dish with the bases loaded, and apparently Jason Hammel wanted no part of throwing strikes to the Tigers big man, walking him on four consecutive pitches to force in a run and put the Tigers on the board. That was the end of the line for Hammel, who exited stage right having thrown 81 pitches.
Mike Minor got the call from the bullpen and Victor Martinez tied the game at 3-3 on the very first pitch he saw when he doubled to left field.
Alex Presley worked a leadoff walk and Jose Iglesias dropped a base hit into left field to put the Tigers in business. After a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, Andrew Romine struck out swinging, but Alex Avila was able to draw a walk to load the bases for Cabrera.
Bottom 4th: Royals 3, Tigers 0
Daniel Norris hit Salvador Perez with one out, and after getting Jorge Bonifacio to fly out to right field, Whit Merrifield struck again. This time it was an RBI triple to right field that puts Kansas City up 2-0.
Jorge Soler followed with an RBI single through the left side of the infield to push the advantage to 3-0.
Eric Hosmer grounded out to first to leadoff the inning.
Top 4th: Royals 1, Tigers 0
J.D. Martinez grounded out to third, Justin Upton flew out to center field and Nick Castellanos struck out swinging (surprise, surprise) as the Tigers went down in order for the second time in four frames.
Bottom 3rd: Royals 1, Tigers 0
Daniel Norris appears to have good stuff tonight. Whit Merrifield didn't seem to be impressed, though, as he turned on a ball on the inner half of the plate and blasted it out to left field for a solo home run that puts Kansas City up 1-0.
With the homer, Merrifield now has a 14-game hitting streak.
After Jorge Soler struck out swinging, Alex Gordon, he of the .140 average against left-handed pitching, singled through the middle of the diamond. Alcides Escobar grounded into what should have been an inning-ending double play, but Jose Iglesias and Andrew Romine both bungled their ends of that and couldn't even get Gordon at second base. Norris proceeded to walk Mike Moustakas to load the bases, but Iglesias and Romine made up for their earlier blunder (sort of, Norris did have to throw more pitches) by turning a double play off the bat of Lorenzo Cain.
Top 3rd: Tigers 0, Royals 0
Andrew Romine dropped his second hit of the night into right field with a one-out single, and after Alex Avila flew out to center field (again), Miguel Cabrera singled back through the middle of the diamond to put runners on the corners for Victor Martinez. The once dangerous slugger grounded out on the first pitch he saw, and for the second time tonight, the Tigers put two men on against Jason Hammel and have nothing to show for it.
Jose Iglesias flew out to left field to leadoff the inning.
Bottom 2nd: Tigers 0, Royals 0
Eric Hosmer flew out to left field, Salvador Perez struck out swinging and Jorge Bonifacio struck out swinging as Daniel Norris cruised through the second inning.
Norris has thrown just 23 pitches through the first two frames.
Top 2nd: Tigers 0, Royals 0
Justin Upton flew out to right field, Nick Castellanos grounded out to shortstop and Alex Presley did the same as the Tigers went down in order against Kansas City starter Jason Hammel.
Bottom 1st: Tigers 0, Royals 0
Alcides Escobar reached on a broken-bat, infield single to leadoff the bottom half of the inning, but Daniel Norris was able to get out of the frame unscathed.
Mike Moustakas popped out to shortstop, Escobar was picked off after he was caught meandering just a little too far from the bag and Lorenzo Cain grounded out to shortstop on a spectacular play made by Jose Iglesias.
Top 1st: Tigers 0, Royals 0
Andrew Romine got things started with a double to right center, and after Alex Avila flew out to center field, Miguel Cabrera was able to work a walk. With two men on base, Victor Martinez flew out to right field and J.D. Martinez grounded out to third as the Tigers let an early opportunity go by the wayside.
TIGERS VS. ROYALS
When: Monday, 7 p.m.
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
TV: FSD / ESPN
Radio: 97.1 FM
Pitching matchup: LHP Daniel Norris (2-3, 4.38) vs. RHP Jason Hammel (1-6, 5.98)
1. Andrew Romine, 2B
2. Alex Avila, C
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. J.D. Martinez, RF
6. Justin Upton, LF
7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
8. Alex Presley, CF
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
1. Alcides Escobar, SS
2. Mike Moustakas, 3B
3. Lorenzo Cain, CF
4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
5. Salvador Perez, C
6. Jorge Bonifacio, RF
7. Whit Merrifield, 2B
8. Jorge Soler, DH
9. Alex Gordon, LF