Detroit 1, Kansas City 5 (box)
Magic Number 19
Justin Verlander suffered just his second career loss in Kaufman Stadium last night as the Royals bested the Tigers. Robinson Tejeda did his best Zack Greinke impression in shutting down the Tigers offense.
Verlander struggled against his pitch count from the get go, and managed just six innings, allowing just one run and striking out eight. The Tigers’ right hander failed in his attempt to become the American League’s first 17 game winner, but with even a little support, he could have succeeded.
Tejeda made sure that Verlander would get no help from his friends, holding the Tigers to just three hits over his seven innings of work. Tejeda also matched his career best with eight strike outs.
Tejeda has now thrown 19 consecutive scoreless innings, and the Royals secured their first series win against Detroit this season. Kansas City hadn’t won a series since taking two of three in Minnesota on August 11-13. They had not won a series at home since sweeping the Reds on June 12-14.
The Royals got a good effort from two-time former Tiger Kyle Farnsworth, who pitched two scoreless innings. Their attack was almost entirely provided by Billy Butler. The first baseman clubbed three doubles, scored a run, and knocked in two more. Butler is probably the only real threat the Royals have, but every time he had a chance to beat them, the Tigers gave him pitches to do it.
If Tuesday’s game was given away, last night’s was more a case of the Tigers not really even showing up. Detroit was one for 10 with RiSP, and that Brandon Inge single didn’t even drive in a run. The Tigers made some noise in the ninth, loading the bases with one out, but by that time it was too little, too late.
- Billy Butler– How good a hitter is this kid becoming? He has a chance to break the Royals team record for doubles in a season, and it’s a good bet that next year many of those doubles will carry out of the park. If Alex Gordon can even begin to live up to expectations, Kansas City has a couple of good pieces to build around.
- Robinson Tejeda– The Royals claimed him on waivers from the Rangers last season. It appears they have found a gem. A simple tweak of his mechanics has lead to much improved results. Tejeda has always had a live arm, if he can pitch the way he has lately, he could make what was a good rotation into one of the best in the league.
Jeers to (where to begin?)
- Fernando Rodney– It was a non-save situation, and Rodney hadn’t pitched since Friday. Recipe for disaster. Rodney walked a man, allowed two hits and two runs before being removed after just 2/3 of an inning. No good.
- Curtis Granderson– In his 0 for 4, which included two more strike outs, Granderson saw all of nine pitches. Nine. In four at bats. Alex Avila saw nine pitches in his one at bat. Since Aug. 10, he is hitting just .220 and has fanned 30 times while reaching base just 31 times in 109 plate appearances.
What’s on tap
All of the good vibes from last weekend’s road sweep of the Rays are gone after dropping the first two in Kansas City. Now the Tigers must win the finale today to secure a winning trip. Jarrod Washburn makes his first start since Aug. 31, as he returns from sore knee. Lenny DiNardo goes for the Royals, replacing Greinke. DiNardo last pitched in a major league game on Aug. 9, 2008, when he allowed three runs in one inning of relief at Comerica Park.
Minnesota beat Roy Halladay, and the White Sox outlasted the A’s in 13 innings. I hate when worst case scenario happens. Both clubs gain a game on the Tigers. The Twins now trail by 5.5 games, while the Sox are 6.5 games back. Minnesota will throw 13 game winner Scott Baker against Toronto today, while the White Sox are idle.