Coming off back-to-back one-run performances in Pittsburgh, the Royals offense seemed destined for another rough night.
They were facing a hot left-hander in Daniel Boyd, who came into the night with a 2.95 ERA in three September starts. Combine that with the fact that Kansas City is among the worst offensive units in the league against left-handed pitching and you don’t exactly have a winning recipe.
Similarly, the Tigers came into the evening having scored just six runs in their last series and facing a pitcher in Jorge Lopez who was three outs away from a perfect game just two starts ago.
Neither of those pitchers would make it out of the 2nd inning.
The Royals started hot but the Tigers responded in a big way, scoring nine runs in the first two innings and beating Kansas City 11-8 Thursday night.
A three-run home run by Jorge Bonifacio in the first put Kansas City up 3-0 but the Tigers responded with back-to-back homers by Christin Stewart and Nick Castellanos in a four-run bottom half of the 1st.
The Royals responded quickly, as Alcides Escobar led off the second with a double and was driven in on a Brian Goodwin homer to go back up 5-4. After the Goodwin homer put the Royals back on top, Boyd gave up back-to-back one-out singles to Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi. At this point, Ron Gardenhire had seen enough and lifted his starting pitcher after just 1.1 IP. Zac Reininger got smacked around a little bit, but was able to get out of the jam with two long fly outs.
But then the wheels fell off for Lopez in the 2nd. Pitching with another lead, he gave up a lead-off double to Pete Kozma (!), who moved to third on a JaCoby Jones single. Christin Stewart followed with his second home run in as many innings, this one of the three-run variety, to put the Tigers back up 7-5 with nobody out in the 2nd.
At this point, Ned Yost replaced Lopez with Glenn Sparkman after just 1.0 IP. He did not fare any better, giving up a triple to Castellanos and then a double to Victor Martinez to make it an 8-5 game. Grayson Greiner finished the destruction with an RBI single, putting the Tigers up 9-5.
After the dust had settled, both starting pitchers combined for just 2.1 IP, giving up nine earned runs on five home runs. It was not a banner day for starting pitching.
Through two innings, both teams had clubbed a combined 18 hits, 12 of which went for extra bases. If you’re counting at home, that means there had been as many extra-base hits as outs through two frames.
The Royals got two back in the 4th on a Hunter Dozier two-run homer and had the tying run on base in the 5th, but were unable to capitalize.
Detroit got two more runs in the 7th against Brandon Maurer to seal the deal. Mondesi hit a solo homer in the 9th, his 11th on the season, but the Royals wouldn't get anything else across.
The loss drops the Royals to 52-101 with nine games to play.
Up Next: Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers, 6:10 PM CDT, Comerica Park. RHP Ian Kennedy (2-8, 4.73 ERA) v. LHP Francisco Liriano (5-10, 4.54 ERA)