Royals

Tigers get to Brad Keller early and take down the Royals

Royals pitcher Brad Keller on his command struggles against the Tigers

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Brad Keller gave up five runs in six innings in a loss to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Aug. 9, 2019.
Up Next
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Brad Keller gave up five runs in six innings in a loss to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Aug. 9, 2019.

Detroit continued to be a house of horrors for the Royals, and even their young ace pitcher Brad Keller wasn’t immune to the club’s Motor City malaise.

The Royals lost 5-2 against the Tigers in the second game of their series in front of an announced 21,475 at Comerica Park on Friday night.

Not including Thursday’s suspended game in Boston, the Royals have lost nine of their last 10. They have dropped the first two games of this series, and they’ve lost seven of eight games in Detroit this season.

Both Royals runs on Friday came via solo home runs, one that didn’t leave the park.

On the first at-bat of the game, the Royals’ Whit Merrifield smoked a 2-2 pitch off the wall in center field for an inside-the-park home run. Jorge Soler’s ninth-inning solo homer provided the only other run for the Royals (41-76).

Tigers starter Edwin Jackson (2-5) made his 2019 debut with the Tigers (35-78), but he first pitched in the majors in 2003. He’s played for 13 major-league teams in his career. Jackson faced the Royals for the 11th time in his career.

Jackson, who pitched for their club’s Triple-A affiliate last week, held the Royals to one run on four hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out four.

“I was pretty impressed,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Jackson. “He’s still got good stuff, 95 mph fastball, a good slider that was tough to see the first two innings. I was like okay hopefully when the shadows go away. He threw the ball well, and he executed pitches well. We hit some balls right on the nose, but it was right at people.”

Keller (7-12) finished the night having allowed five runs on 10 hits, three walks and two wild pitches in six innings. He also struck out six.

Merrifield, who also hit an inside-the-park homer against the White Sox on July 16, became the first Royals player with multiple inside-the-park home runs in a season since Mark Teahen in 2008. Merrifield is also the first right-handed hitter since Frank White in 1975 to do it twice in a season for the Royals.

“I saw it hit off the wall,” Merrifield said. “I wasn’t sure how far it kicked off, so I was just running. As soon as I saw (third base coach Mike Jirschele) wave me, I knew it kicked far enough. Because first inning, first batter, he’s not going to wave me unless it’s going to be a pretty easy play at the plate.”

As far as whether the inside-the-park type homers are more exciting for him than the over-the-fence variety, Merrifield replied, “Not at all. I love them. I’ll take them every time, but they’re exhausting. It’s much better to hit it solid, watch it for a little bit and have a nice jog.”

Merrifield’s homer gave Keller a 1-0 lead before Keller toed the rubber.

However, Keller walked the second and third batters he faced and 10 of the first 13 pitches Keller threw were balls, including one wild pitch that short-hopped to the plate and off of catcher Meibrys Viloria.

The Tigers took advantage of Keller’s early issues and scored a pair of runs on two hits and two walks in the bottom of the first, including a two-run single to right field by Dawel Lugo with two outs. Each of the runners who scored reached via walks.

Niko Goodrum started the Tigers’ fifth inning with a triple off the right-center field wall, and Miguel Cabrera ripped a single just under the glove of diving third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert for a RBI single as the Tigers increased their advantage to two runs, 3-1.

Keller limited damage for the most part until he stumbled at the end of the sixth inning. With two outs and two strikes on No. 8 hitter Jake Rogers, Keller gave up a solo home run down the left-field line. He then gave up back-to-back hits and uncorked a wild pitch that allowed a second run of the inning to score.

“I felt like everything was a little off,” Keller said. “I felt like my breaking ball was a little short, wasn’t getting to the plate. Fastball just wasn’t where I wanted it to go. I felt like we made pretty good adjustments in the middle of the game, put up some zeros there and tried to keep the team in it as much as I could and then ran into a snag at the end of the sixth.”

The Royals, having used six pitchers out of the bullpen on Thursday night, turned it over to Timmy Hill for the final two innings. He didn’t allow a run.

The two clubs continue their four-game set on Saturday evening. Left-hander Mike Montgomery (1-5, 6.02) will start for the Royals, while right-hander Spencer Turnbull (3-9, 3.72) is scheduled to start for the Tigers.

Tigers 5, Royals 2

Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Merrifield 2b

3

1

1

1

1

0

.304

Gordon lf

2

0

0

0

2

0

.269

Dozier rf

4

0

0

0

0

2

.280

Soler dh

4

1

2

1

0

1

.254

Cuthbert 3b

4

0

0

0

0

0

.288

O’Hearn 1b

4

0

1

0

0

0

.174

Starling cf

4

0

2

0

0

1

.238

Viloria c

4

0

1

0

0

0

.262

Lopez ss

4

0

0

0

0

0

.221

Totals

33

2

7

2

3

4

Detroit

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Reyes cf

5

0

2

0

0

2

.256

Goodrum 2b

3

2

1

0

1

0

.250

Cabrera dh

2

1

1

1

2

0

.286

Dixon 1b

4

0

0

0

0

2

.259

Lugo 3b

4

0

3

2

0

0

.233

Castro lf

4

0

1

0

0

1

.281

Demeritte rf

4

0

1

0

0

2

.226

Rogers c

4

1

1

1

0

1

.200

Mercer ss

4

1

2

0

0

0

.252

Totals

34

5

12

4

3

8

Kansas City

100

000

001

2

7

0

Detroit

200

012

00x

5

12

0

LOB—Kansas City 7, Detroit 8. 2B—Starling (3), Demeritte (1). 3B—Goodrum (5). HR—Merrifield (13), off Jackson; Soler (32), off Schreiber; Rogers (3), off Keller. RBIs—Merrifield (57), Soler (80), Cabrera (46), Lugo 2 (11), Rogers (5).

Runners left in scoring position—Kansas City 4 (Starling, Viloria, Lopez 2); Detroit 4 (Reyes, Goodrum, Castro, Demeritte). RISP—Kansas City 0 for 4; Detroit 2 for 9.

Runners moved up—Viloria. GIDP—Gordon, Lugo.

DP—Kansas City 1 (Lopez, Merrifield, O’Hearn); Detroit 1 (Goodrum, Mercer, Dixon).

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Keller, L, 7-12

6

10

5

5

3

6

108

4.09

Hill

2

2

0

0

0

2

33

3.66

Detroit

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Jackson, W, 2-5

6 1/3

4

1

1

2

4

94

9.35

Ramirez

12/3

0

0

0

1

0

15

4.92

Schreiber

2/3

3

1

1

0

0

16

13.50

Jimenez, S, 1-5

1/3

0

0

0

0

0

4

4.87

Inherited runners-scored—Ramirez 1-0, Jimenez 2-0. WP—Keller 2. PB—Rogers (1).

Umpires—Home, Laz Diaz; First, Vic Carapazza; Second, Jeremie Rehak; Third, Hunter Wendelstedt.

T—2:27. A—21,475 (41,297).

Related stories from Kansas City Star

Lynn Worthy covers the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball for The Star. A native of the Northeast, he’s covered high school, collegiate and professional sports for The Lowell Sun, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Allentown Morning Call and The Salt Lake Tribune. He’s won awards for sports features and sports columns.
  Comments