For the second day in a row, the Royals faced the favorites to win the AL Central on their home turf. For a second straight night, the Royals pitching staff managed to mostly stifle a generally potent Tigers offense--an offense that ended up plating a total of five runs in the first 18 innings of this intradivisional series.
Unfortunately, the Royals once again struggled to score runs themselves, and tonight their inability to plate runs cost them the game. The Royals scattered five hits across nine innings, but only bunched them together in one inning, the fifth, where the Royals kicked things off with a David Lough dong hanging followed by a Mike Moustakas single, Chris Getz sacrifice bunt (GRIT personified), and an Alcides Escobar RBI single that saw Escobar get thrown out by Andy Dirks trying to stretch his single into a double. Lough's ding-dong just cleared the wall in right field, travelling roughly 385 feet for his first Major League home run.
Leading up to the Lough home run, Max Scherzer had been no-hitting the Royals. Aside from a pair of walks handed out to Alex Gordon and Billy Butler in the first, the Royals had very little going on the basepaths for the first four innings.
For their part, the Tigers struggled, too. Victor Martinez scored the first run for the Tigers in the second, but Omar Infante ran into an out at home plate attempting to score from first on Don Kelly single down the left field foul line. Alex Gordon got to it with relative ease and hit his cut-off man at third, Moustakas, who turned and gunned down Infante with time to spare at home. After giving away an out at home, the Tigers had to wait until the fifth to score again. This time Infante crossed home plate without getting out, accounting for the second and final run scored off Wade "Cool Stuff" Davis, who to his credit had a fairly strong outing, striking out five while walking just one and working around eight hits in 6.2 innings.
Both Scherzer and Davis left the game without the possibility of a win, with the game deadlocked 2 - 2. It would be hard to argue that Scherzer wasn't the hard-luck starter of the game, as he allowed just five base-runners in 7.0 innings of work while striking out six.
The outcome of the game came down to a free pass from Aaron Crow, when he hit Miguel Cabrera in the hand to start things off in the eighth. Cabrera went first-to-third on the Prince Fielder single that followed, and he crossed home plate on a Victor Martinez sacrifice fly. The Royals threatened with base-runners in the home-half of the eighth and ninth innings, but a two-out Alex Gordon single in the eighth and a lead-off single from Salvador Perez that begat an Elliot Johnson pinch-running stolen base to put him in scoring position both failed to score the game-tying run the Royals needed to give them a chance to extend the game and get to the dicey back end of the Tigers bullpen. For his part, Billy Butler worked a full count with Johnson in scoring position before fouling off a couple of would-be fourth balls, watching a called third strike that appeared to be at least a few inches inside, and losing his mind on home plate umpire Jordan Baker, eventually getting run but not before coming back onto the field and spewing more meat-fueled rage at the poor home plate ump, who had no recourse but to stand there and take it.