Recap: Royals ruin Tigers' home opener, chase Fulmer early in 14-6 rout

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Game summary

The Detroit Tigers raced out to a 5-1 lead in the second inning of their home opener at Comerica Park against the Kansas City Royals on Monday night.

Then the wheels fell off. And the windows got smashed. And then the car exploded.

The Royals scored 11 unanswered runs before beating down the Tigers 14-6 as the story of Michael Fulmer’s return was changed into the story of Detroit returning to the team that it was a season ago.

The Tigers (2-2) ran out six pitchers, three making their MLB debuts, giving up 13 hits. Fulmer was removed from the game after giving up five hits and four runs in 2.2 innings. 

JaCoby Jones hit a three-run home run, Victor Reyes had an RBI in the second and added a homer in the sixth, and Jonathan Schoop picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly. 

9th inning

Top 9th

Anthony Castro comes in for the Tigers, replacing John Schreiber on the mound.

Final line for Schreiber: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Erick Meija lines out to Niko Goodrum on a second-pitch fastball. Franchy Cordero walks, and Brett Phillips brings him home the following at-bat with a homer to right field. It's 14-6, Royals.

Castro bounces back, getting Whit Merrifield to fly out and then striking out Bubba Starling to end the inning.

END TOP 9TH: Royals 14, Tigers 6

Bottom 9th

The Royals send out Gabe Speier to replace Glenn Sparkman on the mound.

Final line for Sparkman: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Niko Goodrum leads off the inning with a strikeout. Harold Castro hits a grounder to second that results in out No. 2.

Miguel Cabrera walks. The Tigers have life!

Dawel Lugo walks, too, but the game is over after Jordy Mercer grounds out.

FINAL: Royals 14, Tigers 6

8th inning: Tigers put two runners on, fail to bring any home 

Top 8th

John Schreiber comes on in relief for Carson Fulmer.

Final line for Fulmer: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Salvador lines out to Harold Castro to lead off the inning. Schreiber then delivers a payoff pitch to Ryan O'Hearn that gets the Kansas City first baseman looking. Maikel Franco grounds out to end the inning.

END TOP 8TH: Royals 12, Tigers 6

Bottom 8th

Jordy Mercer hits a first-pitch popout to start things up for the Tigers in the eighth. Cameron Maybin is called out looking on three straight pitches. Two away.

Victor Reyes drops in a blooper to left that keeps the inning alive. Austin Romine finds the hole with a ground ball, putting runners at first and second with two down.

JaCoby Jones hits a popup that fails to leave the infield, ending the inning.

END BOTTOM 8TH: Royals 12, Tigers 6

7th inning: Tigers falling asleep at plate as opportunities diminish

Top 7th

Carson Fulmer is on in relief for Beau Burrows.

Final line for Burrows: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

Fulmer gets Brett Phillips to ground out to start his night, then gets Whit Merrifield to do the same. Two away.

The 3-2 pitch to Jorge Soler misses, putting a runner on for Adalberto Mondesi. Mondesi strikes out swinging to end the inning.

END TOP 7TH: Royals 12, Tigers 6

Bottom 7th

Glenn Sparkman comes on in relief for the Royals, replacing Josh Staumont.

Final line for Staumont: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Jonathan Schoop begins the inning with a groundout, and Miguel Cabrera follows that up with a groundout of his own. Two away. 

C.J. Cron ends the inning with a strikeout.

END BOTTOM 7TH: Royals 12, Tigers 6

6th inning: Tigers get a run back on Reyes' first homer of season

Top 6th

With Beau Burrows still on the mound for the Tigers, Ryan O'Hearn leads off the inning with a first-pitch double.

Burrows gets Maikel Franco to line out to center before Alex Gordon grounds out to first to make it two out, one on. A grounder to short ends the inning.

END TOP 6TH: Royals 12, Tigers 5

Bottom 6th

Josh Staumont comes in to pitch for the Royals, ending Kevin McCarthy's day.

Final line for McCarthy: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

Cameron Maybin strikes out swinging to lead off the inning.

Victor Reyes then puts a charge into an 0-2 pitch, hitting his first home run of the season to make it 12-6. Austin Romine follows that up with a strikeout, but JaCoby Jones keeps the inning alive with a single up the middle.

Niko Goodrum strikes out looking to end the inning.

END BOTTOM 6TH: Royals 12, Tigers 6

5th inning: Royals continuing to mash as lead grows

Top 5th

Brett Phillips grounds out to second to lead off the inning.

Whit Merrifield is hit by a pitch in the next at-bat, and Jorge Soler brings him home with a monster home run. It's 12-5, Royals.

Adalberto Mondesi lines out to JaCoby Jones, and Beau Burrows gets the final out by getting Salvador Perez to hit a grounder to short. It could have been worse?

END TOP 5TH: Royals 12, Tigers 5

Bottom 5th

Miguel Cabrera leads the inning off with a walk.

C.J. Cron finally goes down swinging after fighting off numerous 2-2 pitches, a nine-pitch at-bat. Jordy Mercer grounds out into a double play.

END BOTTOM 5TH: Royals 12, Tigers 5

4th inning: Royals score 6 to go up 5

Top 4th

Kyle Funkhouser returns to the mound for the Tigers.

Funkhouser allows a double to Franchy Cordero and then walks Brett Phillips. A 2-2 pitch to Whit Merrifield is smacked for a double, bringing in Cordero and sending Phillips to third. We're all tied up at 5-5. Nobody out.

Jordy Mercer makes a great play to stop a rocket from Jorge Soler, hold the runner at third, and then fire to first base safely for the out.

Funkhouser gets Adalberto Mondesi swinging for the second out of the inning, then walks Salvador Perez on a full count to load the bases.

Ryan O'Hearn hits a ground ball to right, bringing in Merrifield and Phillips to put the Royals up, 7-5. Funkhouser's day is done.

Final line for Funkhouser: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

Beau Burrows is making his MLB debut for the Tigers now. 

Things do not go well for Burrows, as he gives up a 3-run homer to Maikel Franco almost immediately. The Royals lead, 10-5.

Burrows then walks Alex Gordon. Cameron Maybin catches a fly ball to mercifully end the inning.

END TOP 4TH: Royals 10, Tigers 5

Bottom 4th

Alright, here come the Tigers, now down a boatload.

Victor Reyes grounds out to lead off the inning. Austin Romine hits a soft ground ball to third, but it's thrown away, and he advances to second on the error.

JaCoby Jones hits a popout. Two away. Kevin McCarthy comes in to pitch for the Royals, replacing Foster Griffin who appeared to be a bit shaken up. Not entirely sure what happened to Griffin.

Final line for Griffin: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

McCarthy walks Goodrum to put runners at first and second with two outs. Jonathan Schoop his a slow roller to short that gets McCarthy out of the inning.

END BOTTOM 4TH: Royals 10, Tigers 5

3rd inning: Home runs. Home runs, everywhere

Top 3rd

After Brett Phillips singles to lead off the inning, Whit Merrifield hits a homer to left. It's now a two-run game with nobody down.

Jorge Soler is out on a hard-hit ball to Victor Reyes. Adalberto Mondesi then grounds out to first. Two away, with Salvador Perez stepping into the box.

Perez hits a homer to the deepest part of the ballpark to make it a one-run game. That makes it four home runs in two innings between the two ballclubs. Somebody find Nick Castellanos.

Michael Fulmer walks Ryan O'Hearn, and his day is done.

Final line for Fulmer: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

In comes Kyle Funkhouser for the Tigers, making his MLB debut. There will be no pronouns attributed to Funkhouser in this blog. His name, Funkhouser, will be written at every opportunity. Funkhouser.

Funkhouser gives up a single to Maikel Franco, putting runners at first and second with two outs. JaCoby Jones chases down a fly ball to end the inning and get Funkhouser out of the jam.

END TOP 3RD: Tigers 5, Royals 4

Bottom 3rd

Foster Griffin is on to make his MLB debut for the Royals, ending Mike Montgomery's day.

Final line for Montgomery: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Griffin gets C.J. Cron swinging for out No. 1. Jordy Mercer grounds out to short. Two away. Cameron Maybin grounds out, and the inning is over.

END BOTTOM 3RD: Tigers 5, Royals 4

2nd inning: Jones homer helps give Tigers 5-1 lead in second

Top 2nd

Michael Fulmer strikes out Ryan O'Hearn on three pitches to open the second inning.

Maikel Franco takes Fulmer deep on a 1-1 slider to put the Royals up, 1-0.

Fulmer regroups, getting Alex Gordon to hit a weak flyout to right. Franchy Cordero hits a groundout to end the inning, but the damage has been done.

END TOP 2ND: Royals 0, Tigers 0

Bottom 2nd

Jordy Mercer's grounder finds a hole, and the Tigers' leadoff hitter is on with a base hit to start the second inning. Cameron Maybin drops a base hit into the outfield; Mercer turns for third, the throw follows suit, and Maybin sneaks into second.

The Tigers have runners at first and second with nobody down.

Victor Reyes hits a chopper to short; Adalberto Mondesi can't handle it, and Reyes gets to first base safely while Mercer heads home to tie things up for the Tigers.

The Tigers have runners on first and second, still nobody out.

Austin Romine is thrown out easily after his bat breaks on a softly hit ball to short, but the runners advance, and now Detroit has two runners in scoring position with one away.

JaCoby Jones takes Mike Montgomery deep to left, and the Tigers have a three-run lead.

Then Niko Goodrum hits a ball into the gap, turns on the jets, and gets all the way to third.

Are the Tigers ... pouring it on?

Jonathan Schoop's flyout to center will bring in Goodrum from third. It's 5-1, Detroit.

Miguel Cabrera's chopper to second ends the inning, but the Tigers are up four.

END BOTTOM 2ND: Tigers 5, Royals 1

1st inning: Fulmer gets out of first inning with relative ease

Top 1st

Michael Fulmer throws his first pitch since September, 2018. It's a strike, and opening day at Comerica Park is a go. Whit Merrifield gets the last laugh, taking a 2-2 pitch to right for a base hit.

Fulmer strikes out Jorge Soler with a slider for his first out of the game. He then gets Adalberto Mondesi to pop up in the infield for out No. 2. Cameron Maybin tracks a Salvador Perez flyout, and Fulmer is out of the first inning with ease.

END TOP 1st: Tigers 0, Royals 0

Bottom 1st

Niko Goodrum grounds out in his leadoff at-bat for the Tigers. Jonathan Schoop does the same, and there's two away. Miguel Cabrera strokes a base hit into left-center, bringing up C.J. Cron.

Mike Montgomery gets Cron swinging to end the inning.

END BOTTOM 1st: Tigers 0, Royals 0


This will be an Opening Day at Comerica Park like no other.

The Tigers play their home opener Monday night, taking on the Kansas City Royals in an American League Central showdown beginning at 7:10 p.m. And, while Opening Days at Comerica usually boast sold-out crowds and plenty of fanfare, this one will be played in a near-empty stadium because of the pandemic.

Fans will miss seeing a first-place Tigers team (sure, it's early) in person, after Detroit took two out of three in Cincinnati and shares the AL Central top spot with Cleveland and Minnesota.

Right-hander Michael Fulmer will take the mound for the Tigers, making his return following Tommy John surgery. He'll oppose lefty Mike Montgomery.

Follow along here for live updates from Detroit News contributor Nolan Bianchi.

Royals at Tigers

First pitch: 7:10 p.m. Monday, Comerica Park, Detroit

TV/radio: Fox Sports Detroit, Fox 2/97.1 FM

Probables: Royals LHP Mike Montgomery vs. Tigers RHP Michael Fulmer

►  Tickets: Typically the hottest ticket in town, that’s not the case this season, with COVID-19 shutting fans out of major-league ballgames at least through the regular season.

Tigers lineup

1. Niko Goodrum, SS

2. Jonathan Schoop, 2B

3. Miguel Cabrera, DH

4. C.J. Cron, 1B

5. Jordy Mercer, 3B

6. Cameron Maybin, RF

7. Christin Stewart, LF

8. Austin Romine, C

9. Victor Reyes, CF

SP: Michael Fulmer, RHP

Royals lineup

1. Whit Merrifield, 2B

2. Jorge Soler, RF

3. Adalberto Mondesi, SS

4. Salvador Perez, C

5. Ryan O'Hearn, 1B

6. Maikel Franco, 3B

7. Alex Gordon, LF

8. Franchy Cordero, DH

9. Brett Phillips, CF

SP: Mike Montgomery, LHP