KANSAS CITY — For six innings, the Detroit Tigers were in control.
Spencer Turnbull was dealing, his offense backed him with a whole two runs, and the Tigers needed just nine outs from their bullpen to earn a series-opening win against the Royals.
Wasting too many pitches, Turnbull was pulled after 95 following the sixth. An inning later, the Royals started to claw back. Two innings later, they had the lead, and beat the Tigers, 3-2.
Kansas City scored one run each against Detroit’s bullpen trio of left-handers Blaine Hardy, Daniel Stumpf and righty Victor Alcantara.
The game was lost in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Adalberto Mondesi and Jorge Soler hit back-to-back doubles, right before Cheslor Cuthbert hit a pop-up down the right field line.
On the play, first baseman John Hicks, right fielder Nicholas Castellanos and second baseman Harold Castro converged, but Hicks could not make a difficult over-the-shoulder catch.
And so went what was a solid performance from the Tigers, especially Turnbull, who threw six shutout innings, striking out five batters.
The Tigers hit two home runs: Castellanos hit a solo shot in the first and Brandon Dixon did the same in the fourth.
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Here are three observations from the Tigers’ 3-2 loss to Kansas City:
1. Turnbull’s night: The Tigers haven’t hit on many of their second-round picks in recent years, but on Turnbull, they did. He continued a strong rookie campaign by dominating a weak Kansas City lineup. Turnbull allowed four singles in total, walked two batters and struck out five. The next phase in his development is working deeper into games, which has been elusive because his command is not quite refined enough. Turnbull worked too late in the fourth and fifth innings, but stranded two runners in each. His biggest pitch was a 95 mph fastball past Alex Gordon in the fifth.
2. Second-guessing: It has fallen apart enough times this season in similar fashion, with manager Ron Gardenhire sending his starter back out with a short leash, but this time, Gardenhire went in a different direction. Knowing that Turnbull could run into a long inning, he opted for the bullpen. The bullpen did not do its job: Hardy allowed a solo home run to Ryan O’Hearn in the seventh and Stumpf allowed the Mondesi double — which was heavily aided by Christin Stewart’s sub-par throwing arm in right. Gardenhire then went to Alcantara, who coughed up a double to left field and then, the fateful blooper into no-man’s land. Hard to pinpoint blame on the game-winning hit, but easy to put it on the bullpen for the loss.
3. Offensively: Not much, again, masqueraded by the two home runs, which both went out to left-center field. The Tigers would only record three other hits, two of them by JaCoby Jones, who is hitting .257. They will tip their caps to righty Jake Junis and the Royals pitchers, but the Tigers have to do a better job, if they’re capable of it.
Contact Anthony Fenech at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.
Published at Wed, 12 Jun 2019 03:00:26 +0000