Detroit 7, Kansas City 3 (box)
For a long while, this one had all the makings of another long day at the ball park for the offense. The Tigers stranded runner after runner for the first seven innings, their lone run coming on a solo homer by Magglio Ordonez.
Kansas City starter Brain Bannister kept the Tigers off-balance throughout the early part of the game. He routinely kept the Tigers off the board, despite having runners all over the base paths. The Tigers got the lead-off man on in each of the first two innings and the first two men aboard in the fourth, but could not bring home a run. Not until Ordonez connected with a Bannister offering in the sixth, a majestic blast into the waterfall.
Meanwhile, as chronicled in detail here, Detroit left hander Dontrelle Willis was not great, but good enough to keep his club in the game and give them a chance late.
Just as was the case in the first game of the series, the eighth inning was rough for the Royals. After the first batters reached on a walk and a single, Miguel Cabrera launched an 0-2 pitch from Luis Mendoza over the right field fence, giving the Tigers a 4-2 lead.
Kansas City got a run back in the bottom of the inning against Ryan Perry, but it could have been worse. Billy Butler walked and Jose Guillen double him to third, all with no one out.
A sacrifice fly to left moved both runners up, but Yuniesky Betancourt grounded weakly to short on the first pitch with the infield drawn in, failing to advance the runner. Perry got out of the jam with the lead intact by getting a fly ball from Jason Kendall to end the inning.
Back-to-back doubles in the ninth by Adam Everett and Austin Jackson got another run for the Tigers and Cabrera singled in another to push the Tigers lead to 6-3. Former Tiger Roman Colon then hit Ryan Raburn with the bases loaded to bring in the seventh Tiger run.
Cheers and Jeers after the jump.
- Dontrelle Willis– Willis had a solid outing after a rough start. He held the Royals to two runs over six innings, walking just two. He wasn’t great, but he was good enough.
- Miguel Cabrera– He hit his second game-changing homer in two days, this time giving the Tigers the lead. He finished up 4 for 5 with four RBI. He ended the series at 8 for 14 with two bombs and seven RBI.
- Magglio Ordonez– Maggs had three hits including his first homer of the year. A nice start to compliment his sizzling finish to last year.
- Brain Bannister– He hasn’t had a great career but he always pitches well against the Tigers. He did so again with six innings of one-run ball.
- Jose Valverde– It wasn’t a save opportunity, but Valverde sat the Royals down in order a day after blowing his first save chance for Detroit.
- That Royals bullpen– three games, three blown saves. Last night all was good except for the homer given up by Joakim Soria, but on Monday and today, there was no one who escaped blame. The quickest way for an improved Royals team would be to overhaul the ‘pen.
- Alberto Callaspo– 0 for 4 with nine left on base, Callaspo was a hero last night, a goat today.
What’s on tap?
The home opener tomorrow back in Detroit as the Tigers will take on the Indians. Detroit will give the ball to Rick Porcello, a 14 game winner a season ago. He will be opposed by left hander David Huff. Gates open at 10:30am in advance of the 1:05 pm start to accommodate the sell-out crowd.