Royals Ride Big Seventh Inning, Win Game 5-2
Round one of Verlander vs. Chen goes to Yordano Ventura.
Technically, Yordano Ventura got the win, but Bruce Chen gave us 5.1 innings of decent work. In his first start off the DL, Chen only allowed two earned runs, and struck out two batters. While this does not qualify as a quality start, for Bruce this was certainly quality.
Royals pitchers haven't quite figured out Austin Jackson as he scored one of the Tigers two runs today on a J.D. Martinez popup single. Rajai Davis would score earlier in the inning on a Miguel Cabrera sacrifice fly. That would be the only scoring Detroit would do today as the rest of the Royals pitching staff would just one hit over 3.2 innings of relief.
Without Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Perez for the first seven innings of this game, Kansas City bats would fall silent.
Here's a fun fact: Brett Hayes ranks 87/89 in catchers ERA at 6.29.
Brett Hayes wasn't too shabby on offense today as he went 1-2 and upped his average to .119.
It was Billy Butler who got things started in the seventh inning with a bloop single to left field. Mike Moustakas then lined one to left field to move Butler to second base. The singles train continued when Raul Ibanez and Alcides Escobar hit one apiece to put the Royals on the board.
With the bases loaded, and still no outs, Jarrod Dyson grounded out to Ian Kinsler to tie the game at two.
With two on, and the game tied, Ned Yost did not want to hit Brett Hayes (can you blame him?) Salvador Perez entered, and would stay in for the rest of the game. Tigers reliever, Ian Krol would intentionally walk Salvador to pitch to Nori Aoki.
Nori Aoki, again did productive with his plate appearance as he popped up to the second baseman. Nori Aoki went 0-4 today, and will probably still be the leadoff hitter when play resumes after the All Star Break.
Up next, Omar Infante. Infante has had good success against his former team, and added two more RBIs to give the Royals a 4-2 lead. Eric Hosmer would add the last run of the day with an RBI ground-rule double.
Wade Davis and Greg Holland would come in for their normal eight and ninth inning roles to get the Tigers in order to end the game.
After what I pegged as a definite loss for today's game, Bruce Chen, and the rest of the pitching staff came in to limit the mighty Detroit Offense to two runs.
The Tigers took the first three games, but the Royals were able to end on a high note. Hopefully the Royals will come back after the All Star Break and play contending baseball as expected this year.