Sep 1, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler (3) is congratulated by center fielder Anthony Gose (12) after hitting a 2 run home run against the Kansas City Royals in the seventh inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers defeated the Kansas City Royals 6-5 in the first game of their series on Tuesday night and are now only 19 games behind the Royals in the AL Central. The Tigers decided to get off to a good start to September after an abysmal August. They also improved their record against the AL Central to 31-20 while they are 30-50 against the rest of baseball.
The opening game of this series featured a prime pitching matchup with Justin Verlander coming off of his one-hitter going for the Tigers against Johnny Cueto in his fourth start of the season against the Tigers. The Tigers finally got to Cueto after he made three solid starts against them. He finished the night with a final line of 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. On the other hand, Verlander finished the night with a line of 6.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. He was strong through 6 innings, but could not make it through the 7th.
The Tigers got on the board first in the top of the first. Anthony Gose led off with a single to center field and advanced to third on a throwing error from Alcides Escobar. Miguel Cabrera then singled to left field to give the Tigers the 1-0 lead and exceed the total numbers of runs scored against Cueto in his last start against them. The Tigers had a chance at a big inning, but ran themselves out of it as Cabrera was thrown out at third on a single from J.D. Martinez and the inning ended 1-0.
The Tigers extended their lead in the top of the second. Nick Castellanos led off the inning with a single. This time, the Tigers used strong base running to put runners on second and third on a line drive down the left field line from Tyler Collins. James McCann then grounded out to second base which scored Castellanos and moved Collins to third. Jose Iglesias then plated Collins with a single to center to give the Tigers the 3-0 lead.
The Royals cut into the lead in the bottom of the second. Eric Hosmer reached on an error by Ian Kinsler. He moved up to third on a hit and run single from Kendrys Morales and scored on an Alex Gordon sacrifice fly in his first plate appearance off of the disabled list.
The Tigers ran themselves out of another run in the top of the 4th, but extended their lead nonetheless. Tyler Collins hit another double and moved up to third on a groundout from James McCann, but was thrown out at home on the contact play on a ground ball from Jose Iglesias. Anthony Gose was then hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second with two outs. Ian Kinsler then delivered a two-out RBI single to score Iglesias and give the Tigers a 4-1 lead.
The Royals got that run back in the bottom of the fourth. Kendrys Morales launched a no-doubter solo home run to right center field to cut the Tigers’ lead to 4-2.
The Tigers then extended their lead in the top of the seventh. Gose led off the inning with a groundball single to right field and came home on an Ian Kinsler home run to extend the lead to 6-2.
The Royals cut the Tigers’ lead and chased Verlander in the 7th. Alex Gordon doubled to lead off the inning, Salvador Perez singled, and Omar Infante grounded out to bring home Gordon. After Jarrod Dyson struck out, Alcides Escobar singled to bring home Perez and ended Verlander’s night. Alex Wilson then struck out Ben Zobrist to end the inning.
The Royals inched closer in the bottom of the 8th. Lorenzo Cain singled on a line drive against Alex Wilson. Blaine Hardy then came on and retired Eric Hosmer and Morales, but Gordon singled and Perez doubled to score Cain and cut the lead to 6-5 Tigers. Neftali Feliz then came on and got Mike Moustakas to ground out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 9th, Bruce Rondon came on and struck out Jarrod Dyson, got Alcides Escobar to ground out to shortstop, walked Ben Zobrist who stole second, but retired Lorenzo Cain on a groundout to third to end the game.