FINAL: ROYALS 16, TIGERS 4
The defensive blunders were aplenty for the Tigers in the first inning Thursday night, putting the team in a hole that Michael Fulmer never climbed out of in a 16-4 loss in Kansas City.
There were three errors made by the Tigers in the opening frame that directly led to Royals runs. There was also a missed tag at home plate by James McCann that allowed the Royals to go up 4-0.
Fulmer would bounce back with a quick second inning, but things started to unravel in the third, where he gave up four of his five earned runs and didn't even make it out of the inning. The ace exited the game with the Tigers trailing 8-0.
The Tigers were able to put four runs on the board in the fifth and sixth innings to cut their deficit in half. But Chad Bell, who had worked a few innings of stellar relief, had the wheels come off in the sixth, and the Royals stretched their lead back to eight and cruised to victory.
The Royals put four runs on the board in four separate innings. Not something you see every day.
It's a tough break for a team that was staring a 5-game winning streak in the face last night heading into the bottom of the ninth. After Justin Wilson blew the save, and today's lackluster performance, any good vibes built up by the winning streak are gone just like that.
Bottom 8th: Royals 16, Tigers 4
Billy Burns picked up an infield single off of Alex Wilson. After Ramon Torres popped out to second, Wilson walked Drew Butera. Mike Moustakas drove in his third run of the night with a single to center field, pushing this lopsided affair to 13-4.
Alcides Escobar kept it going with a double to center field, plating another Kansas City run. 14-4.
Oh no, they were done. Brandon Moss singled home another pair of runs as anything coming out of Alex Wilson's hand must have looked like a beach ball to Royals hitters. 16-4.
Alex Gordon and Whit Merrifield both followed with singles to load the bases. But finally, with the threat of a position player coming into pitch for the Tigers, Wilson struck out Jorge Bonifacio and got Burns (remember him? he led off the inning) to pop out to end the frame.
Top 8th: Royals 12, Tigers 4
Jim Adduci led things off by drawing a walk from Al Alburquerque. Alex Presley followed with a single to center field before Mikie Mahtook was robbed of an RBI double on a diving catch by Alex Gordon in left field. The next pinch-hitter in the parade of pinch-hitters for the Tigers was Alex Avila, who drew a walk to load the bases for James McCann. McCann couldn't get the job done when he struck out swinging, and Andrew Romine grounded out back to the mound to end the threat.
Bottom 7th: Royals 12, Tigers 4
Daniel Stumph hit Alex Gordon with a pitch to give the Royals a runner with one out, but after Whit Merrifield grounded into a fielder's choice, Stumph got out of the inning by getting Jorge Bonifacio to fly out to center field.
Brandon Moss grounded out to second to leadoff the inning.
Top 7th: Royals 12, Tigers 4
Jose Iglesias grounded out to second, Ian Kinsler flew out to right field and Nick Castellanos did the same as the Tigers went down in order against old friend Neftali Feliz.
Bottom 6th: Royals 12, Tigers 4
Whit Merrifield got one back for the Royals in the sixth with a one-out solo home run to left field that pushes the K.C. lead to 9-4.
The Merrifield blast was just the second hit given up by Chad Bell, who was in his fourth inning of relief after Michael Fulmer's struggles got him sent to the showers in the third inning.
Though he'd been cruising, the wheels really came off for Bell after that.
Jorge Bonifacio and Lorenzo Cain both singled in the next at-bats to put runners on the corners with one out. Eric Hosmer then dropped an RBI single into left field to stretch the Royals lead to 10-4.
Salvador Perez chased Bell from the game with an RBI single to right field, pushing the advantage to 11-4.
Daniel Stumpf got the call from the bullpen, immediately throwing a wild pitch that moved the runners into scoring position, and following that by surrendering a run on a sacrifice fly from Mike Moustakas. 12-4.
Alex Gordon struck out swinging to leadoff the inning.
Top 6th: Royals 8, Tigers 4
Justin Upton stroked a leadoff double to right-center, and Miguel Cabrera showed up with an RBI single to center field that has cut the Tigers deficit to 8-4.
After Mikie Mahtook singled to left-center, Royals starter Danny Duffy was shown the door.
With two men on base and nobody out, Victor Martinez flew out to right field, allowing Cabrera to move up to third. But the Tigers couldn't get another man across the plate, as James McCann struck out swinging and Andrew Romine grounded out to third.
Bottom 5th: Royals 8, Tigers 3
Mike Moustakas dropped a one-out bloop single into center field for Kansas City's first hit off of Chad Bell. Alcides Escobar grounded into a fielder's choice, moving Moustakas up to second, but Bell finished off the inning by getting Brandon Moss to fly out to left field.
Salvador Perez struck out swinging to leadoff the inning.
In 2.1 innings, Bell has three strikeouts while giving up just the one hit.
Top 5th: Royals 8, Tigers 3
Victor Martinez notched a one-out single back through the middle of the diamond. James McCann followed with a single of his own to center field, and Andrew Romine grounded into a fielder's choice that put runners on the corners with two outs. Jose Iglesias got the Tigers' first run of the night across the plate, scoring Martinez with a single to right field, cutting the deficit to 8-1.
Ian Kinsler decided it was time to make this game somewhat competitive with a double to right-center that plated both runners, cutting the K.C. lead to 8-3.
Nick Castellanos flew out to right field to end the inning.
Mikie Mahtook struck out swinging to leadoff the frame.
Bottom 4th: Royals 8, Tigers 0
Jorge Bonifacio struck out swinging, Lorenzo Cain flew out to center field and Eric Hosmer struck out swinging as Chad Bell worked a perfect frame in his second inning of relief.
Top 4th: Royals 8, Tigers 0
Justin Upton notched a two-out single to left field, but Miguel Cabrera flew out to center field to end the frame.
Ian Kinsler flew out to right field, and Nick Castellanos flew out to center field to start the inning.
Bottom 3rd: Royals 8, Tigers 0
Eric Hosmer took a Michael Fulmer fastball and absolutely crushed it into the fountains in right-center for a one-out, solo home run that puts Kansas City up 5-0 in the third.
Fulmer couldn't brush it off, hitting Salvador Perez in the next at-bat before allowing the Kansas City catcher to steal just the third base of his career. After Mike Moustakas popped out to second, Alcides Escobar reached on an infield single, putting runners on the corners. Brandon Moss proceeded to crush a ball to right-center, scoring both runs and giving the Royals a 7-0 lead.
It didn't stop there. Alex Gordon doubled to left field, scoring Moss to push the Tigers' deficit to 8-0.
That was it for Michael Fulmer. He threw 70 pitches, and he never recovered after his defense failed him in the first inning.
Chad Bell came in and got Whit Merrifield to pop out to end the frame.
Lorenzo Cain grounded out to second to leadoff the inning.
Top 3rd: Royals 4, Tigers 0
James McCann struck out swinging, Andrew Romine grounded out to second and Jose Iglesias grounded out to third as the Tigers went down in order in the third.
Bottom 2nd: Royals 4, Tigers 0
Alex Gordon flew out to right field on a nice diving catch by Andrew Romine, Whit Merrifield struck out swinging and Jorge Bonifacio popped out to third as Michael Fulmer got a much-needed quick inning.
Top 2nd: Royals 4, Tigers 0
Mikie Mahtook stroked a one-out double to right-center, but because the early going of this game is decisively in the favor of Kansas City, Mahtook was picked off at second base. Victor Martinez flew out to right field to end the frame.
Miguel Cabrera struck out swinging to leadoff the inning.
Bottom 1st: Royals 4, Tigers 0
Well, that was some awful defense by the Tigers in the first inning.
Whit Merrifield reached on a throwing error from Nick Castellanos to lead off the frame. He scored after Jorge Bonifacio doubled to center field, where Mikie Mahtook misplayed the ball and allowed Merrifield to get all the way home, putting Kansas City on top 1-0.
Michael Fulmer bounced back to strike out Lorenzo Cain, but that's when things went from bad to worse. After walking Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez dropped a bloop single into left field. Hosmer didn't notice the runner stopping at third base, leaving K.C. in a bind with Bonifacio trapped between third and home plate. But the Tigers couldn't even get the free out, as Jose Iglesias short-hopped James McCann, who let the ball squirt away and allowed Bonifacio to score and give the Royals a 2-0 lead.
Mike Moustakas kept the hit parade going with a single to center field that stretched the lead to 3-0.
Just when it looked like the Tigers were going to get out of the inning on a double play after Miguel Cabrera touched first base and threw over to third base, where Perez was hung out to dry, the Royals got another run. Perez broke for home, and the throw from Castellanos beat him by a mile, but he was able to avoid what should have been an easy tag by James McCann and give the Royals a 4-0 lead.
That's three errors on the Tigers this inning. It's the first time that's happened since 2010. But in all honesty, McCann not applying the tag was the fourth miscue that won't be found in the scorebook.
Oh, and if things couldn't get any worse, Fulmer threw 37 pitches in the first inning.
Top 1st: Tigers 0, Royals 0
Ian Kinsler flew out to center field, Nick Castellanos flew out to right field and Justin Upton struck out swinging as Danny Duffy set the Tigers down in order on six pitches.
TIGERS AT ROYALS
First pitch: 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
TV/radio: Fox Sports Detroit/97.1 FM
Records: The Tigers are 43-50, fourth place in the American League Central Division, five games behind the Cleveland Indians, and five games out of a wild-card spot. The Royals are 46-47, third place in the AL Central, two games behind the Indians, and two games out of a wild-card spot.
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Nick Castellanos, 3B
3. Justin Upton, LF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Mikie Mahtook, CF
6. Victor Martinez, DH
7. James McCann, C
8. Andrew Romine, RF
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
SP: Michael Fulmer, RHP
1. Whit Merrifield, 2B
2. Jorge Bonifacio, RF
3. Lorenzo Cain, CF
4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
5. Salvador Perez, C
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Alcides Escobar, SS
8. Brandon Moss, DH
9. Alex Gordon, LF
SP: Danny Duffy, LHP