The Kansas City Royals picked up a much needed win on Sunday, defeating the Detroit Tigers 5-2 at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals scored first thanks to a two-out rally. Alcides Escobar led off the game with a single against Rick Porcello, but was promptly caught stealing. Lorenzo Cain hit a two-out single, and Eric Hosmer followed with a single of his own. That brought runners to the corners for Billy Butler, possibly playing his final game at Kauffman Stadium in Royal Blue. Butler delivered a RBI-single, roping a Porcello offering to centerfield to give KC a 1-0 advantage.
The good guys picked up another run in the second. Omar Infante collected a one-out single, advancing to second on a Mike Moustakas groundout. Escobar plated Infante with a two-out double, lining a pitch off the wall in the left field corner, just missing a homer.
Ian Kinsler halved the Royals lead in the top half of the third, blasting a solo homer off Jeremy Guthrie to start the frame. Detroit ended up tying the game in the fourth. J.D. Martinez smacked a leadoff single, advancing to third on a Bryan Holaday single. That brought Andrew Romine to the plate, who hit a shallow flyball to Alex Gordon for the second out of the inning, not deep enough to score Martinez.
Gordon threw the ball back to the infield; Moustakas was the relay man. Moose took his eye off the ball and turned early; letting the ball ricochet off his glove and roll into foul territory. The ball scooted far enough away to score Martinez, tying the game in an absolutely absurd manner. It was the kind of play that would make Chip Ambres blush.
Thankfully, the Royals rallied in the bottom half of the inning. Infante worked a leadoff walk, then Moustakas followed with a single. Escobar attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt (/facepalm), but popped out to Porcello instead. Norichika Aoki, however, delivered the bigget hit of the game in the next at-bat, sneaking a groundball past Miguel Cabrera down the first base line for a two-run triple. The ball wasn't particularly well struck, but nobody can stop the Aoki train right now when he's actually swinging.
Brad Ausmus removed Porcello after Aoki plate appearance, only lasting 3 1/3 innings. Jim Johnson relieved Porcello, prmply loading the bases before striking out Butler. Blaine Hardy helped the Tigers escape the jam by whiffing Gordon, keeping the Tigers within reach.
Detroit didn't threaten again until the top half of the sixth. The Martinez pair led off the inning with singles, but Guthrie recovered; forcing Nick Castellanos to popout. Ned Yost made a smart bullpen decision, pulling Guthrie after 5 1/3 innings for Kelvin Herrera. The right-hander recorded the final two out of the sixth before tossing a scoreless seventh, throwing absolute gas for 1 2/3 innings.
Kansas City added an insurance run in the seventh against Phil Coke. Butler hit a one-out single, who was removed for Terrance Gore. Gordon drove in Gore with a double to left; if Gordon was playing defense, it would have been an easy flyout, but Detroit's defense is a bit lacking.
Wade Davis and Greg Holland did their thing, each working a scoreless inning to close out the game.
The Royals are now 1 1/2 games behind Detroit in the AL Central heading into the final two series of the year. The team will complete their suspended game against the Cleveland Indians on Monday (the Royals trail 4-2 heading into the bottom of the 10th) before starting a three-game series. Danny Duffy will start the first game, facing off against Danny Salazar.