Royals

Royals' offense comes alive in 8-4 victory over Detroit

Kansas City Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson, center, high-fives teammate Eric Hosmer (35) after the Royals defeated the Detroit Tigers, 8-4 in a baseball game, Saturday, July 16, 2016 in Detroit.
Kansas City Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson, center, high-fives teammate Eric Hosmer (35) after the Royals defeated the Detroit Tigers, 8-4 in a baseball game, Saturday, July 16, 2016 in Detroit. AP

An offense in need of a spark hobbled into Comerica Park on Saturday evening. The jolt came via the right hand of Detroit starter Mike Pelfrey, who acted as a human defibrillator in the Royals’ 8-4 victory over the Tigers.

The Kansas City offense ambushed Pelfrey for four runs in the top of the first and another in the second. The Royals rode the wave for most of the night, scoring at least eight runs on the road for just the second time this season. The offensive output was sufficient enough for left-hander Danny Duffy, who improved to 5-1 while allowing four earned runs in 6  1/3 innings.

“It was fun,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Especially early.”

The victory represented the first of the second half for the Royals, who improved to 46-44 and pulled within a half-game of the second-place Tigers, 47-44, in the American League Central. The series will conclude on Sunday afternoon, when Yordano Ventura takes the mound against Detroit rookie Michael Fulmer.

One day after mustering just two runs against Detroit’s Justin Verlander, Yost had juggled the lineup once more, putting shortstop Alcides Escobar in the leadoff spot and sitting second baseman Whit Merrifield in favor of Christian Colon. The tactic was not all-out desperation, but perhaps something close.

“It’s just tough right now,” Yost said. “You can jiggle and juggle all you want, but if guys aren’t hitting, they’re not hitting.”

Six hours later, Yost felt relief. The Royals generated eight runs on 11 hits and seven walks, a cathartic release of production at a pivotal time.

First baseman Eric Hosmer finished 2 for 4 with a double, a walk and an RBI single. Third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert rapped two hits and recorded an RBI. Escobar finished 1 for 4 with a walk while hitting atop the lineup. And then there was this: Salvador Perez, the club's free-swinging catcher, drew two walks for the first time since April 7, 2014.

“Phenomenal at-bats,” Yost said. “He's taking pitches. He's getting in good counts. He's getting pitches to hit. He's not getting himself out like he was doing before.”

The onslaught came , in part, to another tepid display from Pelfrey, a Wichita native who issued four walks in 1  2/3 innings. Pelfrey dropped to 2-9 this season while his ERA jumped to 4.95. His career-long troubles against the Royals were only exacerbated. In seven starts, Pelfrey has logged a 6.03 ERA against Kansas City.

The Royals are in no position to worry about the manner in which they score runs. At this point, any offense is welcome. Especially on the road. In their last nine games, the Royals have averaged just three runs per contest while going 2-7. They entered Saturday ranked 14th in the American League in runs scored.

“I think we did a good job today of just kind of going up there with a game plan and adjusting after the first couple batters,” Hosmer said. “It just looked like Pelfrey was having a little trouble finding the strike zone there, so we put in some good at-bats in the first inning. A lot of guys toned down the aggressiveness a little bit.”

And yet, they did not wait long to stir. Hosmer ignited a first-inning rally with a double to left-center field. Alex Gordon opened the scoring with a bases-loaded RBI single to center.

Pelfrey gifted another run by hitting Paulo Orlando with the bases full. Cuthbert followed with an RBI single to right field. Colon finished the rally with a slow chopper that scored another run.

In truth, the Royals’ four-run first inning could have been more. They made up for it with another run in the second. They busted the game open with three more runs in the top of the fifth.

Holding a comfortable lead, Duffy worked into the seventh inning. His most costly mistake came on a change-up that resulted in a two-run homer from Ian Kinsler in the third. In the end, Duffy seemed mostly satisfied by the effort.

“I’m not even tipping my cap in that situation because that was not the pitch that I wanted to throw,” Duffy said of the homer. “I thought that he made me pay for a mistake, but maybe I'm just trying to execute everything.”

Reliever Peter Moylan offered 1  2/3 scoreless innings, coaxing an important double-play ball to end a threat in the seventh. Closer Wade Davis breezed through an easy ninth, his first appearance since June 30.

Davis returned from the disabled list on Saturday afternoon after rehabbing a forearm strain, and it was a non-save situation. That didn't matter. For the Royals, it was another important moment.

The bats supplied enough offense. The closer returned. The Royals claimed a victory against a division rival.

“Honestly, that was the most free and easy I’ve felt in quite some time,” Davis said. “So it’s nice.”

Royals 8, Tigers 4

Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Escobar ss

4

1

1

0

1

0

.261

Hosmer 1b

4

1

2

1

1

0

.299

Morales dh

4

1

0

0

1

1

.254

Perez c

3

1

2

0

2

0

.286

Gordon lf

4

1

1

1

1

1

.206

Orlando rf

4

0

1

1

0

0

.316

Cuthbert 3b

5

1

2

1

0

1

.284

Colon 2b

4

1

1

2

1

1

.253

Dyson cf

4

1

1

1

0

0

.255

Totals

36

8

11

7

7

4

Detroit

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Kinsler 2b

4

2

2

2

0

0

.294

Maybin cf

4

0

1

1

0

1

.339

Cabrera 1b

4

0

1

0

0

1

.292

Martinez dh

4

0

0

0

0

2

.301

Castellanos 3b

4

1

1

0

0

1

.299

Aviles rf

4

0

1

0

0

0

.210

McCann c

4

0

0

0

0

3

.199

Collins lf

3

0

1

1

0

0

.148

Iglesias ss

1

1

0

0

1

0

.254

Totals

32

4

7

4

1

8

Kansas City

410

030

000

8

11

0

Detroit

102

000

100

4

7

0

LOB: Kansas City 9, Detroit 3. 2B: Hosmer (19), Perez (19), Kinsler (18). HR: Kinsler (18), off Duffy. RBIs: Hosmer (50), Gordon (15), Orlando (19), Cuthbert (29), Colon 2 (6), Dyson (10), Kinsler 2 (55), Maybin (25), Collins (3). SB: Dyson (13).

Runners left in scoring position: Kansas City 6 (Hosmer, Orlando 3, Dyson 2). RISP: Kansas City 5 for 15; Detroit 2 for 4. Runners moved up: Colon, Escobar. GIDP: Morales, Cuthbert, Cabrera, Iglesias. DP: Kansas City 2 (Hosmer, Escobar), (Escobar, Hosmer); Detroit 2 (Iglesias, Kinsler, Cabrera), (Kinsler, Cabrera).

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Duffy W, 5-1

6 1/3

6

4

4

1

7

104

3.27

Moylan

1 2/3

1

0

0

0

0

15

2.74

Davis

1

0

0

0

0

1

16

1.19

Detroit

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Pelfrey L, 2-9

1 2/3

4

5

5

4

0

57

4.95

Molleken

2 1/3

3

2

2

2

2

54

3.86

Ryan

1 1/3

2

1

1

1

0

22

3.66

Wilson

 2/3

1

0

0

0

0

6

3.52

Rondon

1

0

0

0

0

1

9

3.38

Greene

1

1

0

0

0

1

14

4.78

Lowe

1

0

0

0

0

0

12

9.71

Molleken pitched to 2 batters in the 5th.

Holds: Moylan (1). Inherited runners-scored: Moylan 2-0, Molleken 3-1, Ryan 1-1, Wilson 1-0. HBP: Pelfrey (Orlando), Duffy (Iglesias). WP: Molleken 2.Umpires: Home, Vic Carapazza; First, D.J. Reyburn; Second, Bill Welke; Third, Greg Gibson.T: 3:16. A: 39,594.

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