A rough offensive performance against a rookie pitcher on Tuesday night may have motivated the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday as they took the third and final game of the series, 6-5.
However, it didn’t take long for Kansas City to jump on Tigers starter Matthew Boyd, though, tagging him for three runs in the first inning.
Boyd (3 2/3 innings) was chased early after a rough start, allowing four earned runs and seven hits with just one strikeout. He didn’t pitch long enough to earn a decision.
The Tigers (25-28) responded with a four-run third inning, taking their first lead of the game and they never looked back. J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton both hit doubles to drive in the four runs.
Just like Boyd, Royals starter Ian Kennedy was chased early, going just three innings. He surrendered five earned runs on four hits and struck out four.
Detroit had a nice rebound performance after being blanked the night before. The Tigers finished with 10 hits, led by Victor Martinez who was 2-for-4 with a solo home run. Justin Upton was 2-for-2 with two RBIs before exiting with a quad injury in the third.
Both sides’ relievers salvaged the game, pitching-wise. Tigers relievers combined for 5 1/3 innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out four. Royals relievers went six innings and allowed one run on six hits.
The Tigers will have a rest day Thursday before hosting the White Sox on Friday. Michael Fulmer (5-3, 2.65 ERA) will get the nod for Detroit while Chicago will send out Derek Holland (4-4, 2.37).
Bottom 9th: Tigers 6, Royals 5
Justin Wilson entered the game, looking for his fifth save.
Drew Butera led things off by striking out looking. Alex Gordon then singled to center. Alcides Escobar struck out swinging on a pitch in the dirt for the second out. Lorenzo Cain popped out to end the game.
Top 9th: Tigers 6, Royals 5
Matt Strahm stayed in the game for the Royals.
Alex Avila was first-pitch swinging to start the ninth and he popped out to third. Miguel Cabrera only needed two pitches to ground out to third and Victor Martinez grounded out to short on just three pitches to end the top of the ninth.
Bottom 8th: Tigers 6, Royals 5
Alex Wilson replaced Shane Greene who faced just one batter in the seventh.
Relief pitching continued to be the name for the first two outs of the eighth as Eric Hosmer struck out swinging for the first out. Salvador Perez followed that up by popping out to short for out No. 2.
Jorge Bonifacio did drive a two-out single to center field, though. Whit Merrifield moved him over to third with a sharp single to right. Bonifacio crossed the plate on a wild pitch by Wilson and Merrifield advanced to second. Cheslor Cuthbert then grounded out to first for the final out.
Top 8th: Tigers 6, Royals 4
For the Royals, Matt Strahm entered the game in relief after three scoreless innings from Chris Young.
Alex Presley's struggles continued with a groundout to third. Jose Iglesias then put a nice swing on an 0-1 pitch but lined out to right field for the second out. Andrew Romine ended the eight-pitch inning with a lineout to right as well.
Bottom 7th: Tigers 6, Royals 4
The long relief duel continued as Warwick Saupold took the mound again in the home half of the seventh.
Drew Butera grounded out to short for the first out. Ice-cold Alex Gordon also grounded out before Alcides Escobar singled on a two-out line drive to left.
Shane Greene would come in to replace Saupold with two outs. He fell behind Lorenzo Cain 3-1 before striking him out looking to end the inning.
Top 7th: Tigers 6, Royals 4
Chris Young took the mound again for the Royals, looking to eat up another inning.
J.D.Martinez lined out to center before Mikie Mahtook singled on a sharp liner to left field. Nick Castellanos abruptly ended the inning with a double play.
Bottom 6th: Tigers 6, Royals 4
Also remaining in for long relief, Warwick Saupold looked to continue his strong outing in the sixth.
Jorge Bonifacio grounded out to short for the first out, Whit Merrifield also grounded out to Jose Iglesias and Cheslor Cuthbert grounded out to the pitcher to end the sixth.
Top 6th: Tigers 6, Royals 4
For the second straight inning, reliever Chris Young took the mound for the Royals.
Alex Avila struck out looking for the first out. Miguel Cabrera then swung on the first pitch, flying out to right field. Victor Martinez ended the speedy inning by grounding out to first.
Bottom 5th: Tigers 6, Royals 4
Warwick Saupold remained in the game for the Tigers. This would be the first inning in which neither team scored.
Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez were all retired via groundout to end a quick fifth inning.
Top 5th: Tigers 6, Royals 4
Chris Young entered the game for the Royals in the fifth.
Mikie Mahtook lined out to center to start the inning, but Nick Castellanos' double made up for it with one gone. Alex Presley followed that up with a walk followed by a double-steal to move runners to second and third.
Jose Iglesias then struck out swinging and Andrew Romine stranded both runners by grounding out to first to end the inning.
Bottom 4th: Tigers 6, Royals 4
The fourth would be Matthew Boyd's final inning of work.
Cheslor Cuthbert drove one deep into right center for a double to lead off the home half of the fourth. Drew Butera flew out to center, but Cuthbert tagged up and reached third.
Alex Avila made a nice sliding catch in foul territory on an Alex Gordon popup for the second out. Alcides Escobar then singled right back up the middle, scoring Cuthbert and chasing Boyd.
Warwick Saupold entered the game with two outs for Boyd. He wouldn't even throw a pitch in the fourth as Escobar was thrown out attempting a steal of second base.
Top 4th: Tigers 6, Royals 3
Seth Maness entered the game in relief of Ian Kennedy.
Alex Avila hit a two-out solo home run to tack on another run to the Tigers' lead. Miguel Cabrera followed him up with a double into the right center field gap. Victor Martinez grounded deep into the shift in shallow right field for a single, moving Cabrera to third. However, J.D. Martinez flew out to deep right field for the final out.
Jose Iglesias singled up the middle to start the inning but Andrew Romine grounded into a double play in the next at-bat.
Bottom 3rd: Tigers 5, Royals 3
Once again, Matthew Boyd retired the Royals without surrendering a run.
Eric Hosmer led things off with a single to left field and Salvador Perez promptly flew out to left. Jorge Bonifacio flew out to center for the second out and Whit Merrifield flew out to deep right field.
Top 3rd: Tigers 5, Royals 3
Ian Kennedy struggled with his command in the third.
Jose Iglesias kicked off the inning with a ground out to third base. Andrew Romine then drew and eight-pitch walk. Alex Avila struck out swinging on a full-count pitch. Miguel Cabrera also worked a full count, but drew a two-out walk. Victor Martinez followed suit on five pitches to load the bases.
J.D. Martinez smacked a double into right field, driving in Romine and Cabrera to tie the game. Justin Upton also doubled to left center, plating J.D. and Victor. Nick Castellanos reached on an infield error, moving Upton to third.
Upton was forced to leave the game with a quad injury and replaced by Mikie Mahtook. Alex Presley struck out swinging to end the lengthy third.
Bottom 2nd: Royals 3, Tigers 1
Matthew Boyd got a much-needed quick inning.
Alex Gordon grounded out to second, bringing up the top of the order with one out. Alcides Escobar got ahead 3-0, but eventually flew to left field on a full-count pitch. Lorenzo Cain flew out to end the second.
Top 2nd: Royals 3, Tigers 1
The Tigers finally scored their first run of the series on a Victor Martinez home run to start the second inning. His bomb to right field was his fifth on the season and provided a much-needed run.
Two batters later, Justin Upton lined a double into left field, but would advance no further.
J.D. Martinez lined out to center for the inning's first out. Nick Castellanos' struggles continues with a strikeout swinging for out No. 2 and Alex Presley grounded out to second.
Bottom 1st: Royals 3, Tigers 0
In need of a quality start, Matthew Boyd was roughed up a bit in the first.
Alcides Escobar grounded to Jose Iglesias for the first out. Lorenzo Cain then recorded the game's first hit with a double to left field. Eric Hosmer followed that up by reaching base on an infield single. Salvador Perez lined a single into center, scoring Escobar from third.
Jorge Bonifacio became the second out of the inning, grounding out to Miguel Cabrera, but moving both runners into scoring position at second and third. Whit Merrifield walked to load the bases with two outs and then Cheslor Cuthbert singled to right, driving in Hosmer and Perez.
Drew Butera ended the lengthy inning with a swinging strikeout.
Top 1st: Tigers 0, Royals 0
After scoring no runs on Tuesday, the Tigers needed to put something together early to gain momentum against Ian Kennedy.
Andrew Romine couldn't lead the game off with anything productive, though, striking out swinging. Then, on a 3-2 count, Alex Avila grounded out to first base. Miguel Cabrera was first pitch swinging to end the inning, flying out to right field.
The Tigers wrap up their three-game series with the Royals on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium (8:15, FSD/97.1). Follow all the action here throughout the night.
Tigers at Royals
First pitch: 8:15 Wednesday, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
TV/radio: FSD, 97.1
The Tigers are 24-28, in fourth place and four games behind the first-place Indians in the AL Central. The Royals are 22-29, in fifth and 5.5 games back of the Indians.
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
Matthew Boyd, SP
1. Alcides Escobar, SS
2. Lorenzo Cain, CF
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B
4. Salvador Perez, DH
5. Jorge Bonifacio, RF
6. Whit Merrifield, 2B
7. Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Alex Gordon, LF
Ian Kennedy, SP