In a game which featured a metric oodle of baserunners, the Detroit Tigers were able to capitalize the most, as Ian Kinsler's walkoff home run capped an 8-6 defeat of the Kansas City Royals. The Royals ended the road trip to Cleveland, Toronto, and Detroit with a 4-6 record. Kansas City is 2-6 in its last 8 games.
In the second inning, the Royals continued their recent stretch of scoring quickly. Yet another Eric Hosmer hit began the shindig, and Kendrys Morales followed that up with a single of his own. Mike Moustakas walked to load the bases...AND THEN ALEX RIOS WALKED TO SCORE A RUN. Emboldened by the team's moxie to walk twice in a row, Omar Infante swatted a single to score Morales and Moose. It was now 3-0, Royals.
Unfortunately, Yordano Ventura did not have plans to keep the lead. Ventura exhibited yet another of his consistent meltdowns in the bottom of the third. Ventura walked Alex Avila and Andrew Romine, albeit with a tight strike zone, to set up the top of the order with runners on first and second with no outs. After a strikeout of Anthony Gose, Jose Iglesias singled to load the bases. Ian Kinsler hit a meek grounder to Alcides Escobar for a double play--except Kinsler beat out the double play, scoring Avila and keeping the inning alive. Victor Martinez then killed a baseball, sending it to right center field for a 3-run home run. 4-3, Tigers.
Even more unfortunately, Ventura was not done conceding runs. After a scoreless fourth, Gose led off the fifth inning with a bunt single. Ian Kinsler then beat out another double play ball following an Iglesias strikeout, again keeping the inning alive. Martinez promptly homered again. 6-3, Tigers.
Ventura's continued struggles are strikingly reminiscent of vintage Luke Hochevar. Both have struggled mightily with men on base, both featured FIPs significantly lower than their ERAs, and both seem pleased with leaving straight baseballs over the center of the plate. Fortunately for the Royals, they had one more thing up their sleeve: the Detroit Tigers bullpen.
Detroit has had bullpen issues for years, and former General Manager Dave Dombrowski exacerbated their woes by trading former Royals closer Joakim Soria to the Pirates. Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez made it through six innings. Drew Butera hit a home run against Sanchez to drive him out of the game at the beginning of the seventh inning. No, really. I promise.
The Tigers subsequently replaced Sanchez with Neftali Feliz, he of the 7+ ERA, and the Royals jumped all over him. Escobar ambushed the first pitch for a single, and then Ben Zobrist worked a walk. Cain unfortunately lined into a double play, removing Zobrist from the basepaths, but Hosmer worked a walk against Blaine Hardy to replace Zobrist at first. Morales doubled to left field, scoring Escobar and Hosmer and tying the game. 6-6 all.
Unfortunately, Kansas City could not capitalize on the continued incompetence of the Detroit bullpen. Despite loading the bases yet again in the ninth inning, Moustakas, who has hit .248/.307/.368 since May 16, made an out on a 2-2 count to defuse the situation.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Ned Yost elected to bring out Ryan Madson instead of Greg Holland. Though Madson has been better than Holland thus far, Yost's decision not to use the experienced and still good Holland failed. Kinsler hit a 2-run bomb to knock off Kansas City and give them their second series loss in a row.
Kansas City has looked terrible against the Blue Jays and Tigers. Ventura looks broken, Moustakas looks increasingly lost at the plate, and the duo of Infante and Rios has only continued their poor play. Despite the acquisitions of Johnny Cueto and Zobrist, the Royals have yet to actually look like a viable team with the improvements on the roster.
Still, teams face stretches of adversity all the time, and Alex Gordon still sits on the DL. Kansas City returns home to Kauffman Stadium tomorrow for a lengthy homestand, which will hopefully cure them of their recent lackadaisy.