Royals

It’s a quiet debut for Bubba Starling, but Royals open second half in style

The mental hiatus operated as the most critical interval provided by this week’s All-Star break, a welcomed chance for the Royals to emotionally reset. To take a break. To escape. And with four days absent baseball, some players said they didn’t even think about the game once.

In their return Friday, they offered a new-look lineup, highlighted by a long-awaited debut.

And then a fresh result, too.

The Royals opened the second half of the season with an 8-5 comeback win against the visiting Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium.

Before the game, the Royals summoned 2011 first-round pick Bubba Starling from Class AAA Omaha. In his MLB debut eight years after graduating Gardner Edgerton High School, Starling finished 0 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.

“You know, you get out there and you look up, and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m playing center field for the Kansas City Royals,’” Starling said. “Very, very special stuff. It’s stuff you dream about. I’ll cherish this the rest of my life.”

Martin Maldonado hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh for the Royals, breaking a 5-5 tie with a 372-foot pop that crept over the left-field fencing. Jorge Soler added a no-doubter for insurance one inning later.

The bullpen allowed only one run over the final seven innings after starter Danny Duffy needed to exit early with a minor injury. Jorge Lopez led that charge, throwing three scoreless innings.

“I felt like I was on time with my deliveries,” Lopez said. “I didn’t give anything to the hitters. My mind was focused on the target, and I kept my mind on what we were trying to do.”

The bullpen and late-inning homers supplied the headlines. But Starling had his moment, too.

Starling’s place in the lineup prompted 4,119 people to buy tickets Friday, the highest single-day ticket sale of the year. With parents, family members and friends also among the more than 25,000 total in the Kauffman Stadium seats, Starling walked into a major-league batters’ box for the first time to an Ozzy Osbourne track and a standing ovation in the second inning. He spent his childhood attending Royals games. In his initial plate appearance, he saw five pitches and didn’t remove the bat from his shoulder, content to take a walk. He scored two batters later, aggressively taking home as a throw dribbled a few feet behind Tigers first baseman Brandon Dixon on what could have been an inning-ending double play.

“It kind of gave me goosebumps walking up to the box,” Starling said. “Just kind of settled in after that first (plate appearance). Definitely had a little bit of nerves walking in there.”

Duffy was knocked around and then knocked out of the game during the Tigers’ three-run third inning. A 71-mph comebacker flicked his throwing hand off the bat of Victor Reyes. Duffy left the game two batters later after a walk and a couple of hard-hit balls, though X-rays taken at the stadium were negative, the team announced. He is considered day-to-day. His final line: two innings, six hits, four earned runs and two walks.

“My hand just went numb,” said Duffy, who doesn’t expect to miss any time.

Down two after his departure, the Royals responded with three runs in the bottom of the third, all of them with two outs. Soler drove in one with a double into the gap before Cheslor Cuthbert directed a hanging change-up 400 feet into the left-field seats to give the Royals a 5-4 edge.

On the mound, Lopez and the bullpen stabilized the vacancy. In his most productive outing of the season, Lopez threw three shutout innings, allowing just two base runners while striking out three. Of the 41 pitches he threw, 31 found the strike zone. The bullpen gave up just three hits while recording 21 outs.

“The bullpen just came in and did a wonderful job,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “But Lopez, when he came in, I told him, ‘We have second and third. I don’t care about the runner on third. Let’s just see if we can hold this guy.’ And that’s exactly what he did.”

Royals 8, Tigers 5

Detroit

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Reyes cf

4

2

3

1

1

1

.300

Castellanos rf

4

1

1

1

1

1

.282

Cabrera dh

5

1

1

1

0

0

.302

Dixon 1b

3

0

1

1

1

2

.243

Candelario 3b

4

0

1

1

0

1

.215

Goodrum 2b

4

0

0

0

0

4

.232

Stewart lf

4

1

2

0

0

0

.237

Hicks c

3

0

0

0

1

1

.194

Mercer ss

4

0

0

0

0

0

.183



Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Merrifield rf

3

2

1

0

1

1

.306

Mondesi ss

4

0

1

0

0

2

.268

Gordon lf

1

1

0

1

2

0

.274

Dozier 3b

4

0

0

0

0

1

.278

Soler dh

4

2

2

2

0

1

.243

Cuthbert 1b

4

1

1

2

0

0

.287

Starling cf

3

1

0

0

1

1

.000

Lopez 2b

4

0

3

0

0

0

.238

Maldonado c

4

1

1

1

0

0

.226



Detroit

103

001

000

5

9

1

Kansas City

113

000

21x

8

9

1

E—Goodrum (12), Cuthbert (5). LOB—Detroit 7, Kansas City 4. 2B—Reyes (1), Castellanos (30), Dixon (8), Stewart (17), Merrifield (26), Soler (19), Lopez (10). HR—Cuthbert (5), off Turnbull; Maldonado (6), off Hardy; Soler (24), off Cisnero. RBIs—Reyes (4), Castellanos (34), Cabrera (37), Dixon (35), Candelario (17), Gordon (56), Soler 2 (61), Cuthbert 2 (18), Maldonado (17). SB—Merrifield (14), Mondesi (29). CS—Mondesi (4). SF—Gordon.

Runners left in scoring position—Detroit 2 (Castellanos, Candelario); Kansas City 2 (Soler, Maldonado). RISP—Detroit 3 for 13; Kansas City 1 for 6.

Runners moved up—Mercer, Dozier. GIDP—Stewart, Mercer, Maldonado.

DP—Detroit 1 (Mercer, Goodrum, Dixon); Kansas City 2 (Lopez, Mondesi, Cuthbert), (Mondesi, Cuthbert).

Detroit

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Turnbull

3

4

5

4

3

1

56

3.59

Soto

3

1

0

0

0

3

37

7.24

Hardy, L, 1-1

2/3

2

2

2

1

1

24

4.42

Farmer

1/3

0

0

0

0

1

3

4.29

Cisnero

1

2

1

1

0

0

17

3.60

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Duffy

2

6

4

4

2

3

56

4.64

Lopez

3

1

0

0

1

3

47

6.35

McCarthy, BS, 1-2

1

2

1

1

0

0

16

5.26

Newberry, W, 1-0

1

0

0

0

1

1

18

3.48

Diekman, H, 14

1

0

0

0

0

1

9

5.06

Kennedy, S, 12-15

1

0

0

0

0

2

13

3.50

Duffy pitched to 4 batters in the 3rd.

Inherited runners-scored—Farmer 1-0, Lopez 2-1. WP—Duffy, Hardy.

Umpires—Home, Marvin Hudson; First, Adrian Johnson; Second, Quinn Wolcott; Third, Gary Cederstrom.

T—3:07. A—25,059 (37,903).

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