The Detroit Tigers walloped the Kansas City Royals tonight by a final score of 9-2. Drew Smyly(W, 2-1, 2.45 ERA) started for the Tigers and had what was easily his best start of the season. Aside from some hard hit balls in the second inning, Smyly was dealing. He was hitting his spots in and out of the strike zone, getting batters to chase, and most importantly, Drew kept his pitch count low, allowing him to pitch deep into the game for the first time this season. Smyly’s line reads seven innings pitched, two hits, no runs, two walks and six strike outs. If this is the Drew Smyly we’re going to see all season, there are very good things to come for the Tigers.
Joba Chamberlain took over for Smyly and pitched a flawless eighth inning, picking up a ground out, a flyout and a strike out and dropping his ERA to 3.97. Joe Nathan was warming and ready to pitch the ninth with a three run lead, but with the added insurance runs scored by the Tigers in the ninth, Phil Coke was called upon to close out the game. Coke gave up two runs on three hits and a sac fly, putting the Tigers’ shutout to an end.
Defensively, each Tigers’ outfielder had a shining moment. Torii Hunter started things off in the second, with what might have been his best play in a Tigers’ uniform; an inning ending diving catch with a runner on, perhaps saving Smyly from the start of a bad inning. Austin Jackson ended the fourth by tracking down and making an excellent play on an Alex Gordon bomb to deep left center. Rajai Davis showed off his arm(who knew?) in the fifth by gunning down Danny Valencia, who was trying to stretch a single into a double, with a laser throw to Ian Kinsler.
On the flip side of defensive awesomeness in the outfield, Bryan Holaday was lackadaisical on a wild pitch from Smyly in the fourth, allowing Eric Hosmer to advance to third with one out after Hosmer got a bad jump from second base. It appeared that, had he not been resigned to giving Hosmer the base, he would have at least had a shot at throwing him out. No real harm was done though, as Smyly was able to knuckle down and end the scoring threat for the Royals.
Kinsler had his first and second big, bone-headed moments on the bases as a Tiger. The first came after a two-out base hit in the third. Kinsler appeared to forget he was on base, and was easily picked off by the lefty Danny Duffy. His second mistake was equally head scratching, Kinsler hit a two-out double in the fifth, then attempted to stretch it into a triple. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out in his favor.
In the fourth inning, the Tigers loaded the bases with one out on a walk to Miguel Cabrera, an intentional pass to Victor Martinez and a walk to Austin Jackson. Nick Castellanos hit a liner to shallow left field and Gold Glove winner Alex Gordon, but Gordon looked to rest on his laurels a bit and Cabrera scored easily from third on what almost could be considered a steal. Castellanos came through again in the sixth inning, with Cabrera(double to start the inning) and Martinez(yet another intentional walk) in scoring position, he notched a double plating both runs with two outs to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. The Tigers’ offense wasn’t done, though, adding six runs in the top of the ninth. Danny Worth knocked in Holaday with a double, Kinsler plated Worth with a sacrifice fly. Davis scored on a base hit from Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez added a hit and was on base for Torii Hunter’s two run bomb to left field, making the score 9-0.