Tigers Snatch Defeat From Jaws of Victory


Kansas City  4, Detroit 3 (box)

Willie Freaking Bloomquist.

When the Royals lineup for today’s series finale was announced, I laughed. Everybody laughed. When manager Ned Yost was asked about his order today, and more specifically why he would use Bloomquist as his no. 3 hitter, Yost responded by saying that “he’s gonna get two hits today, I guarantee it. You watch.” Again, everybody laughed.

In the top of the 12th, Bloomquist came up with his second hit of the day, a solo home run on a full count pitch from Tigers reliever Alfredo Figaro. In his ninth major league season, Bloomquist now has 13 career home runs. Of course, it wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions from the Tigers closer.*******************

Detroit was poised to sweep away the Royals late in this game. Leading 3-1 in the eighth, Ryan Perry was pulled with a runner on and two outs. Perry had just retired Billy Butler and was due to face Kila Ka’aihue, who had homered against Perry last night. Instead, Ka’aihue faced Jose Valverde.

Valverde hasn’t been very good for most of the second half. Far too often recently he has lacked command. Today was no different. Valverde threw his trademark splitter over and over again, but it wasn’t working like it can and Ka’aihue laced a double that brought home the second Royals run. Valverde then served up a game-tying double on another splitter to Brayan Pena before eventually working out of the inning by shelving the splitter in favor of the fastball.

It was just the second blown save of the season for Valverde, who didn’t return for the ninth inning, the other came on April 7, also against the Royals.

The Tigers built an early 3-0 lead thanks to the bottom of the lineup. Brennan Boesch doubled to lead off the second, Ryan Raburn followed with a single and after a strikeout, Ramon Santiago tripled both runners home. Gerald Laird brought in Santiago with a double to plate the only three runs that Royals starter Sean O’Sullivan would allow.

Armando Galarraga got himself into trouble with his pitch count early while battling his command. He was able to right the ship in the third and pitched very well for the Tigers, allowing just five hits and one run, a solo homer by Ka’aihue in the seventh. Galarraga left the game after 6.1 innings, leaving the tying runs on base, but Phil Coke entered and struck out two batters to escape the jam.

So instead of climbing back over .500 with a win today, the Tigers have to settle for a 5-1 homestand. Still nothing to scoff at, but the way this game was lost, against a team with a lineup that the Royals used today, is more than heartbreaking.

Still, the games go on and the Tigers travel to Rogers Centre to take on the Blue Jays to open a 10-game road trip that will also feature three in Minnesota and three in Kansas City. If they have any hope of making noise down the stretch, Detroit will have to win more games on the road. No reason not to start tomorrow, I guess.