Entering his May 4 start against the White Sox, Ian Kennedy was tag teaming with Danny Duffy and Jason Vargas in making one of the best starting rotations in all of baseball.
Kennedy was the third man, but exited April with a 2.30 ERA and had given up just 17 hits in 31.1 innings.
Then May 4 happened.
Kennedy wasn’t sharp in his 4.1 innings, giving up four runs, and left in the 5th with a hamstring injury that wound up being a grade-one strain.
The 10-day DL was next, keeping Kennedy off the mound until May 21, where he proceeded to give up nine runs in his first seven innings removed from the DL, including giving up five runs in just two innings on May 26.
He struggled once again tonight, this being his third start back after his DL stint, giving up five runs over just three innings of work.
His first inning went smoothly, at least. He went one-two-three with a strikeout.
The Royals then came out hot in the bottom half of the frame, tagging Royal-slump-busting Matthew Boyd for three runs on Salvador Perez and Cheslor Cuthbert singles.
The Tigers responded with six unanswered runs in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings, however, with all but one of those runs being surrendered by Kennedy.
Victor Martinez started things off with a solo shot to right in the 2nd inning, his 5th on the season, whittling the Royals lead down to 3-1.
Kennedy was right back in hot water the next inning, walking the bases loaded before a pair of two-run doubles by J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton put the Tigers up 5-3.
Alex Avila added a solo home run to the tally in the 4th off of Seth Maness for good measure, his 7th on the year, to put the Tigers up 6-3.
The Royals did not go quietly, however.
They responded in the 4th with a two-out Alcides Escobar RBI single, driving in Cheslor Cuthbert and making it a 6-4 game.
The single prompted Brad Ausmus to replace Boyd, who didn’t fare much better than Kennedy, giving up four runs without escaping the 4th inning.
Meanwhile, the Tigers offense had all but died after the 4th, managing just two hits from the 5th inning on against Chris Young and Matt Strahm. The Royals bullpen as a whole had a nice night, giving up just one run in six innings of work.
The Royals brought the deficit to within one run in the 8th when Jorge Bonifacio scored on a two-out wild pitch from Alex Wilson.
However, it was too little too late.
The Royals got a one-out single from Alex Gordon in the 9th, but Escobar followed with an ugly strikeout before Justin Wilson got Lorenzo Cain to pop out to short to end the game.
Up Next: Royals v. Indians, Friday, June 2, 7:15 PM CDT. LHP Jason Vargas (6-3, 2.39 ERA) v. RHP Josh Tomlin (3-6, 5.79 ERA)