A frustrating night of offensive struggles turned around in a big hurry for the Royals, as they came back to beat the Detroit Tigers 4-2 on Star Wars Night at the K.
A brilliant pitchers duel turned into a wild comeback, as the Royals unleashed some frustration in the eighth inning after being held down for so long. Ian Kennedy and Francisco Liriano were both masterful on Friday evening. Kennedy threw six shutout innings, striking out seven batters and constantly getting out of some shaky starts to innings. He needed 103 pitches to get 18 outs and surrendered six hits, but when he needed to make a big pitch, he did.
In the top of the seventh, the Tigers finally broke through and ended the 0-0 tie. Blaine Boyer was inserted into a tie game for whatever reason, and with two on and two out, he gave up an RBI double to Jacoby Jones to plate both runners. Kauffman Stadium sounded like all of the air was let out of it at once. A huge crowd looked on as the offense stumbled over itself all game. But as we’ve seen so many times, the strategy the whole time was “just get it to the Detroit bullpen.”
After getting just four baserunners in the first seven frames, the Royals picked a fabulous time to break through in a big way. Cheslor Cuthbert led off and walked, which was the end of the line for Liriano. Jon Jay singled, and then following a flyout, Alex Gordon singled as well to load the bases.
A wild pitch was uncorked, scoring Cuthbert and cutting the lead in half at 2-1. Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire then decided to intentionally walk Alcides Escobar and go for a double play, which has to be the stupidest move in the history of baseball. Whit Merrifield hit a sacrifice fly to tie the contest, and then Jorge Soler came through by banging a two-run single through the hole on the left side.
Seriously. Walking Alcides Escobar? On PURPOSE?
All of the action came in the eighth inning, which makes this recap really easy to write. The Royals have won 5 of 7 and need to win just one of the two games this weekend to clinch their first series victory of 2018.
Kelvin Herrera breezed through the ninth inning to earn his sixth save of the year. Boyer earned the win despite giving up 100% of the runs the Royals allowed, which is hilarious. He is 1-0 despite a 13.50 ERA.
Jorge Soler is turning into a heckuva weapon for the Royals. He’s now hitting .309/.429/.526 with 14 hits and 8 RBI in his last 9 games. Ned Yost’s decision to insert him into the No. 2 spot in the batting order was a great one.
Tomorrow: Jason Hammel and Jordan Zimmermann take the mound at 3:15 pm CDT on FS1, a national broadcast. The Royals are 10-22.