Brad Keller shut down Detroit’s lackluster offense as the Royals clinched the weekend series early.
Matthew Boyd gave up a pair of runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth, while Brad Keller shut down the Tigers offense in eight innings to hand Detroit their second straight defeat after the All-Star break. The 4-1 victory moved the Royals into fourth place in the AL Central, ahead of the southbound Tigers.
Once again, the Tigers got on the board first. Brandon Dixon hit a one-out single in the second, and a two-out triple by Harold Castro put Detroit up 1-0. Keller got Bobby Wilson to ground out with Castro on third, however, and did not allow another Detroit baserunner until the eighth inning.
Boyd held the Royals to a single hit through the first four innings, but then the trouble began. Hunter Dozier led off the fifth inning with a double, and Jorge Soler walked to put two on with no outs. Cheslor Cuthbert flied out to center field, moving Dozier to third. Bubba Starling , who spent eight seasons in the minor leagues, singled through the infield for his first major league hit to tie the game at 1. Nicky Lopez then grounded one through the right side of the infield to put the Royals ahead 2-1. After that, Jeimer Candelario made a nice defensive play and went around the horn for a double play to end the inning.
Boyd walked the bases loaded in the sixth inning with a pair of outs in between, and Cuthbert singled home two runs to make it 4-1 for Kansas City. All three of the Royals’ RBI singles sneaked through Tigers defenders, but that was all Kansas City needed as Keller set down 18 straight Tigers to preserve the lead.
The Tigers threatened in the eighth inning on a pair of two-out singles by John Hicks and Jordy Mercer , but Alex Gordon made a diving grab on a foul fly to left field off the bat of Victor Reyes to end the threat.
Joe Jimenez relieved Boyd in the eighth frame, yielding a pair of singles with one out, when Cuthbert drilled a sharp grounder to Candelario again. The Tigers turned three double plays in the game, all of them started by Candelario , who went around the horn to end the inning in the second, fifth, and eighth innings.
Ian Kennedy came on in the ninth and retired the Tigers in order for the save. Detroit fell to 28-59 for the season while the Royals improve to 32-61. Detroit’s winning percentage is .322, which is on pace for a record of 52-110 over 162 games.
Final pitching lines
Boyd: 7 innings, 4 earned runs, 10 strikeouts, 4 walks.
Keller : 8 innings, 1 earned run, 7 strikeouts, no walks.