The Kansas City Royals defeated the Detroit Tigers tonight in a thoroughly satisfying 4-0 win. There was offense, defense, and pitching, along with some nifty baserunning as well. If the Royals scored just one more run, the Kansas City metro could have been gifted 50% off Papa Johns. Alas, that did not happen, but the Royals still won the game--a more important result in the long run.
Coming into this game, Detroit starter Mike Pelfrey boasted a shiny 6.52 ERA. The 32 year-old starter has in the past few years completely lost the ability to strike people out, and against a traditionally difficult-to-strike-out team like the Royals, the results were not pleasant. From the very beginning of the game, the Royals were unnervingly attuned to what Pelfrey was trying to do, and repeatedly punished him for pitching to them.
Despite that, the Royals were unable to truly finalize the damage they were causing to Pelfrey. Kansas City loaded the bases in the first and second innings, but were unable to come away with any hits with those bases loaded. The Royals hit into three double plays this game, shooting themselves in the foot just as they were gaining momentum. Still, the Royals accrued one run in the first inning anyways, as Lorenzo Cain struck a grounder that bounced off Pelfrey's glove to score Alcides Escobar.
The Royals kept on it, though, uncharacteristically gathering a bushelfull of walks to go along with their hits. Finally, the Royals broke Pelfrey's wobbly performance in the fourth inning. An Omar Infante double, followed by a Jarrod Dyson sacrifice bunt, placed a runner at third with only one out. Escobar obliged to hit a fly ball, and the Royals doubled their lead to 2-0. Great two-out hitters, though, the Royals would double that lead to 4-0 on yet another Mike Moustakas home run and a throwing error off a double steal that allowed Cain to lazily jaunt home from third.
Defensively, the Royals put on a clinic behind a brilliant Edinson Volquez. There was this amazing Gordon grab:
And then this amazing Gordon throw:
And then this fantastic Hosmer catch:
Volquez, as stated earlier, was fantastic. He spun seven complete innings of shutout ball. Obviously helped by the Royals' defensive clinic, that was only support to his five strikeout, one walk performance. In 24.2 innings this year, his ERA is 1.46--and his FIP is 2.76. Volquez is making $9.5 million this year. Zack Greinke, who is making $34 million, and he sports a 5.25 ERA. So it goes.
Kelvin Herrera and Danny Duffy closed out the game with no problems, and the Royals added another 'W' to the board. They took two out of three against the Tigers in their first series of the season. Tomorrow, the Royals will welcome the Baltimore Orioles to Kauffman Stadium in a three-game series.