Looking to end their seven-game losing streak, the Tigers hit the road to take on the Royals, but were unsuccessful, falling 2-1.
Who would have thought Tuesday night’s game would turn out to be a pitcher’s duel?
Anibal Sanchez looked solid for his third straight start, pitching six full innings and allowing just two earned runs on seven hits. He also struck out six, but was given the loss. The Tigers have given him no run support in his last three outings.
On the other side, Jason Vargas held the Tigers’ (62-95) offense in check. He also went six full innings, allowing one run on five hits and striking out three.
The Tigers combined for just six hits with Ian Kinsler’s 2-for-4 day, with an RBI, leading the way. The Royals (77-80), on the other hand, had just eight hits.
Jordan Zimmermann (8-13, 6.19 ERA) will take the mound for the Tigers in game two of the three-game set on Wednesday night. Jason Hammel (8-13, 5.32) will oppose him.
Top 9th: Royals 2, Tigers 1
Mike Minor looked to get the save for the Royals in the ninth.
Alex Presley kicked things off with a leadoff single to right. Ian Kinsler grounded into the team's fifth double play. Jose Iglesias struck out swinging to end the game.
Bottom 8th: Royals 2, Tigers 1
Daniel Stumpf took over in the eighth on the mound.
Lorenzo Cain grounded to second, but Ian Kinsler couldn't handle it cleanly, resulting in an infield single. Melky Cabrera popped out to shallow left center. Eric Hosmer grounded into a double play to second to end the inning.
Top 8th: Royals 2, Tigers 1
Joakim Soria took the mound for the Royals in the eighth.
John Hicks walked to start the inning. Efren Navarro grounded into a double play, the Tigers' fourth. JaCoby Jones struck out swinging.
Bottom 7th: Royals 2, Tigers 1
Drew VerHagen replaced Anibal Sanchez in the seventh.
Alcides Escobar was called out on strikes. Alex Gordon walked. White Merrifield grounded to short and Jose Iglesias made a nifty throw to second to get Gordon, but the batter was safe after the return throw to first. Merrifield was then thrown out trying to steal second.
Top 7th: Royals 2, Tigers 1
Kelvin Herrera took the mound in relief for the Royals in the seventh.
Nick Castellanos struck out looking on three pitches. Jeimer Candelario struck out looking on a pitch low and out of the strike zone. James McCann grounded out to second.
Bottom 6th: Royals 2, Tigers 1
Mike Moustakas was caught looking for strike three to start the bottom half. Salvador Perez grounded out to short. Mike Moustakas lined a single into left field. Brandon Moss popped out to shallow right.
Top 6th: Royals 2, Tigers 1
Alex Presley led off the inning against Jason Vargas by flying out harmlessly to center. A diving stop by Alcides Escobar at short was not thrown to first accurately enough to get Ian Kinsler at first. He was then thrown out trying to steal second. Jose Iglesias then popped out softly to first.
Bottom 5th: Royals 2, Tigers 1
Brandon Moss led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to right. Alcides Escobar struck out swinging. Alex Gordon singled past a diving Ian Kinsler up the middle and Moss advanced to third with one out. Whit Merrifield hit a sacrifice fly to deep right. Lorenzo Cain singled to right. A wild pitch then advanced both runners. Melky Cabrera then flew out to center.
Top 5th: Tigers 1, Royals 1
John Hicks grounded out to third. Efren Navarro then hit a seeing-eyed single through he right side of the infield. JaCoby Jones then grounded into the Tigers' third double play.
Bottom 4th: Tigers 1, Royals 1
Whit Merrifield led off the second with a near-home run which was about a foot short from clearing the left-field wall. He ended up at second with a double. Lorenzo Cain grounded out to second, moving Merrifield over to third. Melky Cabrera then lined out to Jose Iglesias at short. Eric Hosmer hit a bloop RBI double to shallow left, hugging the third base line. Slavador Perez then walked. Anibal Sanchez then struck Mike Moustakas out to end the inning.
Top 4th: Tigers 1, Royals 0
Nick Castellanos led off the fourth with a line drive single to left. Jeimer Candelario then grounded into a double play at second. James McCann then grounded out to third.
Bottom 3rd: Tigers 1, Royals 0
Anibal Sanchez recorded his seventh straight out, retiring Brandon Moss on strikes after falling behind 3-1. Alcides Escobar then ended that hitless streak with a single on a line drive to right. Alex Gordon then struck out looking and Escobar attempted a steal of second but was thrown out by James McCann.
Top 3rd: Tigers 1, Royals 0
Efren Navarro led off the third with a soft ground ball off the end of the bat to short for the first out. After working a full count, JaCoby Jones walked. He then stole second on an 0-2 pitch with Alex Presley at the plate. He then struck out swinging. Ian Kinsler singled sharply to center, scoring Jones from second. Jose Iglesias then struck out swinging.
Bottom 2nd: Tigers 0, Royals 0
Eric Hosmer struck out looking to start the home half. Salvador Perez grounded out to second. Mike Moustakas also grounded out to second as Anibal Sanchez retired the first six batters he faced.
Top 2nd: Tigers 0, Royals 0
Jeimer Candelario singled up the middle to center but James McCann negated that with a double play grounder to third. John Hicks then struck out swinging.
Bottom 1st: Tigers 0, Royals 0
Anibal Sanchez took the mound, looking for his third straight quality start. He had a 1.50 ERA over his two previous outings with 19 strikeouts.
Whit Merrifield worked a full count, but flew out to center. Lorenzo Cain also flew out to center and Melky Cabrera followed suit as JaCoby Jones handled all three outs in the first.
Top 1st: Tigers 0, Royals 0
Jason Vargas took the mound for the Royals.
Ian Kinsler grounded out to second, Jose Iglesias flew out to fairly deep center and Nick Castellanos grounded out to short to end the top half.
Two series to go.
The Tigers are on the road for the final six games of the season, starting with Tuesday night's game against the Kansas City Royals to open a three-game series. First pitch is at 8:15 p.m.
While the Tigers are essentially playing for the future, the Royals still have a stake in this season — technically — trailing the Twins by six games for the second wild-card spot with six remaining. The Tigers could officially end their postseason hopes with a victory Tuesday night.
Anibal Sanchez (3-5, 6.68 ERA) gets the start for the Tigers. He's been in a groove his past two starts, though he doesn't have a victory to show for it. He's limited his last two opponents (the White Sox and Athletics) to two runs on nine hits and four walks over 12 innings, striking out 19.
The Royals counter with 17-game winner Jason Vargas (17-10, 4.03 ERA). The lefty has won three straight starts, but was rocked in his last start against the Tigers on Sept. 5 to the tune of seven runs on six hits in just two innings of work.
TIGERS AT ROYALS
First pitch: 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
TV/radio: Fox Sports Detroit/97.1 FM
Records: The Tigers are 62-94, last place in the American League Central Division, 36 games behind the Cleveland Indians. The Royals are 76-80, third place in the AL Central, six games behind the Minnesota Twins for the second wild-card spot.
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Jose Iglesias, SS
3. Nick Castellanos, RF
4. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
5. James McCann, C
6. John Hicks, DH
7. Efren Navarro, 1B
8. JaCoby Jones, CF
9. Alex Presley, LF
SP: Anibal Sanchez, RHP
1. Whit Merrifield, 2B
2. Lorenzo Cain, CF
3. Melky Cabrera, RF
4. Eric Hosmer, DH
5. Salvador Perez, C
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Brandon Moss, 1B
8. Alcides Escobar, SS
9. Alex Gordon, LF
SP: Jason Vargas, LHP