The Royals have one final opportunity against the team that’s frustrated them all season.
Jeremy Guthrie gets the ball in Sunday’s series finale against the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium, and the pressure is on. The Royals have dropped the first two games in the series and have fallen 2 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the Central Division. The Tigers lead the season series 13-5.
This remains the biggest series the Royals have played in nearly three decades, and Guthrie said that it’s also his biggest moment.
“I’ve never played a game in the major leagues in September that matters as much as these games do,” Guthrie said Friday. “I approach it the same. I know it will be an outstanding atmosphere.”
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Guthrie is 11-11 with a 4.35 ERA. He had a rough outing earlier this month against the Tigers in a 9-5 loss, surrendering six earned runs in 2 2/3 innings, his shortest stint of the season.
But Guthrie was outstanding earlier this season in a 2-1 victory over the Tigers, throwing 6 2/3 innings, and he was the lone Royals winner in last weekend’s series against the Red Sox, with no earned runs in eight innings.
Rick Porcello will get the start Sunday for the Tigers. He’s 15-11 with a 3.19 ERA. Porcello is 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA against the Royals this season, but was the losing pitcher in the Royals’ 3-0 victory earlier this month at Comerica Park.
With 37,074 fans clicking the turnstiles at Kauffman Stadium on Saturday, the Royals’ season attendance surpassed 1.9 million for the first time since 1993.
The total stands at 1,919,270 entering Sunday’s home finale that starts at 1:10 p.m., and the game is sold out. The Royals will finish at about 1.95 million fans and average more than 24,000.
Streaks and marks
Jarrod Dyson ended a zero-for-20 streak with a third-inning single Saturday against Tigers starter Max Scherzer and was on his way to a three-for-four day.
The other hot Royals hitter Saturday was Alcides Escobar, who went four for five, including his 32nd double of the season. That’s more doubles than any Royals shortstop since Jose Offerman had 33 in 1996.