The Kansas City Royals stepped to the plate in the top of the first inning against the Detroit Tigers’ slowly-fading ace, Justin Verlander, and immediately rattled off five consecutive hits. Jorge Bonifacio and Salvador Perez accrued RBIs and the Royals grabbed a quick 3-0 lead with no outs in the first inning.
Unfortunately, that initial burst of excitement would be all the excitement of the evening for Royals fans, as the Tigers scored five runs off a struggling Matt Strahm in his third Major League start en route to a 5-3 victory.
Strahm’s first MLB outing was rather spectacular, his second quite flatulent. Unfortunately, this third outing was more #2 than Strahm wanted. The rookie labored through a scoreless first inning, tossing 25 pitches, and then ran into trouble in the second and third. In the second, JD Martinez, who coming into today had hit 93 home runs over the past four seasons, crushed his 94th (13th of 2017) for a solo shot, cutting the Royals’ lead to 3-1. In the third, future hall-of-famer Miguel Cabrera stepped to the plate with Jose Iglesias and Mike Mahtook on base. Cabrera has scuffled this year, but that didn’t stop him from launching a home run bomb of his own. Suddenly, the Royals’ lead had evaporated fully, the Tigers up 4-3.
Strahm made it through two outs of the fourth inning, but with two men on base and noted regicide Ian Kinsler coming to the plate for the third time, Ned Yost removed Strahm and opted instead for Peter Moylan. Moylan induced a ground ball from Kinsler, but it went up the middle into center field to score the Tigers’ fifth run, giving them a 5-3 lead. That score would remain for the rest of the game.
In the nine full innings after scoring their initial three runs with no outs in the top of the first, Kansas City managed six hits, all singles, and only one walk whilst striking out 10 times. Brandon Moss was particularly awful, going 0-4 with a pair of those strikeouts and leaving six men on base. Still, the latter half of the lineup not named after a plant had plenty of issues as well. The Royals placed two baserunners on with less than two outs twice—in the fourth and in the eighth--and neither time did a Royal advance past second base.
Credit should be given to Verlander, who continues to fight his way through adversity to remain an effective pitcher. After the initial lurch, he buckled down and tossed seven innings, striking out six. Strahm, on the other hand, was very bad for the second consecutive start. Strahm went 3.2 innings, and while he didn’t walk anyone and struck four out, Detroit knocked him around for six hits (a pair of which were, of course, massive dongs).
The Royals stand at 37-38, back under .500 once more, though they did not lose ground to either the Minnesota Twins or the Cleveland Indians, as both clubs lost tonight.