In a game that featured eight home runs and five lead changes back and forth games on the season, a brutal start and a brutal finish dooms the Royals in a 10-8 series-opening loss to the Tigers Thursday night. The tough loss was capped off by a Jordy Mercer walk-off homer nearly three hours after Detroit bounced Royals starter Jorge Lopez after just 1.1 innings.
Before all that, the Royals jumped all over Matthew Boyd. Whit Merrifield led off with a double and was driven in on Hunter Dozier’s 19th homer on the season, giving Kansas City a 2-0 lead. It should be noted that Dozier’s career-high in home runs in any of his professional seasons is 23.
Unfortunately the Royals, Lopez was on the mound. After a near-perfect first inning, striking out two of the three batters he faced, the wheels fell off in the 2nd. Eight of the first nine Tigers reached, including a three-run home run form Harold Castro. The last four reached base via walk or hit by pitch and that isn’t including a wild pitch from Lopez.
And it didn’t get better from there. After Lopez walked home the Tigers 4th run, Ned Yost had seen enough and replaced him with Kevin McCarthy, who inherited a bases-loaded jam. McCarthy proceed to walk Miguel Cabrera, giving the Tigers a 5-2 lead.
Detroit’s lead didn’t last long. Dozier got one of those runs back with his second multi-home run day in as many weeks. Jorge Soler then walked and was driven in on a game-tying two-run home run, making it a 5-5 game.
The Royals control problems continued into the 3rd. Kyle Zimmer replaced McCarthy to begin the frame and immediately walked three straight Tigers. Zimmer worked around the walks pretty well, but still gave up the go-ahead run on a ground out. Detroit added onto their lead the next inning on Miguel Cabrera’s 8th homer of the season. It was just his 11th homer since 2017.
All things considered, the Royals bullpen help up fairly well. Zimmer was able to limit damage after a brutal start while Jake Newberry and Josh Staumont held down the fort long enough for Alex Gordon to come through.
Nicky Lopez led off the 6th with a double and Nick Dini’s first career hit moved him to third. However, Matt Hall and Jose Cisnero were able to strike out Billy Hamilton and Merrifield to bring up Gordon with two outs.
Gordon, however, didn’t miss the opportunity, hitting an absolute tank to center field and putting the Royals up 8-7. The 454-foot shot came off the bat at 106 MPH and couldn’t have come at a better time for Alex. Coming into that at-bat, Gordon had recorded just two hits in his last 36 plate appearances.
That lead lasted all of 20 minutes and they wouldn’t get it back. Travis Demeritte tied the game with a solo homer in the 7th, the 7th homer of the ball game for both teams, but not the last. His next at-bat came in the 9th, leading off with a walk with the game still tied at 8-8. After a sacrifice bunt, Jordy Mercer deposited a 2-1 fastball from Richard Lovelady into the right-center field seats, giving the Tigers a 10-8 walk-off win.
The loss dropped the Royals 41-75 on the season.
Up Next: Royals at Tigers, Friday, August 9, 6:10 PM CDT, Comerica Park. TBD v. RHP Brad Keller (7-11, 3.95)