Since the All-Star break, it’s been the performances of rookie starting pitchers carrying the Royals, as for the third straight game, a Royals rookie starter went 6 or more innings, allowing three or fewer earned runs, and striking out six or more batters. Good for baseball history.
Brad Keller, Heath Fillmyer & Burch Smith are the 1st trio of rookie pitchers in MLB HISTORY with 3 straight 6+ IP, 3 or fewer hit, 6+ strikeout starts.— Dave Holtzman (@DHoltzy) July 25, 2018
The story of the night was easily Burch Smith, who picked up his first major league win since 2013, firing off 6.1 innings of two-run ball, both runs allowed after he had exited the game. The game was pretty much stress free for Smith, as he only allowed four base runners via one hit, two walks, and a Lucas Duda error.
The Royals got the run scoring started early, something they’ve been doing well since the break, with Mike Moustakas busting a home run good for two off of Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann. You kind of have to wonder if that might be the last home run we see from him in a Royals uni.
The Royals added a third run in the third frame, with Salvador Perez lining a single into right field to bring in Rosell Herrera. The Royals fourth run would also come off the bat of Salvador Perez with a solo home run in the fifth inning. They would add another run an inning later with Jorge Bonifacio scoring on a Jose Iglesias error.
Smith would leave the game in the seventh after back-to-back walks and a high pitch count. Ned Yost brought in lefty Tim Hill to face powerless right Victor Martinez. He would finish a long AB by crushing a three-run homer, bringing the Tigers right back in the thick of things.
Kevin McCarthy and Wily Peralta were capable of holding the Royals two-run lead. The Tigers would add a run in the ninth to bring it within one, but Peralta was able to get Martinez as the final out, grabbing his fifth save on the season.
Day game tomorrow. Danny Duffy will make his second start post-ASB. The Royals will take on Matt Boyd in the rubber match to finish up the series.