| The Detroit News
Kansas City, Mo. – The Tigers didn’t exactly get started on time in this one.
It wasn’t until they were in a 3-0 hole in the seventh inning that they became engaged. But, too little too late. The Royals held on for a 3-2 win Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The Tigers were blocked for six innings by starter Brad Keller. But when the Royals gave the ball to lefty Danny Duffy in the seventh, they got a spark.
Harold Castro singled (his second hit of the night) and went to third on an opposite-field double to right by Niko Goodrum. A ground out by Brandon Dixon scored Castro.
With right-handed-hitting Eric Haase coming up, the Royals brought in righty Scott Barlow. Haase hit a fly to shallow center field and Goodrum scored on a close play at the plate.
Goodrum appeared to re-aggravate his oblique on the slide, but he stayed in the game.
That was it. The spark never ignited a sustained flame.
Even with closer Greg Holland unavailable, the Royals’ patch-work bullpen closed it out. Former starter Jakub Junis pitched a scoreless eighth and right-hander Jesse Hahn struck out Dixon and Haase to end the game.
Of all adjectives used to describe the Tigers play this season, listless hasn’t been one of them. For the first six innings Friday, they appeared listless.
A couple of physical errors, a couple of mental errors and three stolen bases defensively, and a lot of quick, soft-contact outs at the plate. It added up to a blasé 3-0 deficit.
The Tigers managed just four singles off Royals starter Brad Keller, who struck out five through six innings. They kept beating the ball on the ground against him, eight ground ball outs.
Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull, in his final start of the season, was in trouble in four of his five innings but he kept things relatively under control.
The Royals tried to rattle him early with their speed game. After Whit Merrifield dunked a single to right, Adalberto Mondesi followed with a bunt single, just as he did Thursday night.
Merrifield and Mondesi pulled off a double-steal putting Turnbull immediately in the soup. With one out, he issued an intentional pass to Maikel Franco to load the bases and set up a double-play. But that plan was foiled when he walked Ryan O’Hearn.
Still, Turnbull struck out Hunter Dozier and got Alex Gordon to line out to left – a deft running catch by Christin Stewart.
Mondesi continued to be a thorn. After collecting four hits and two stolen bases Thursday, he had three hits and two more stolen bases Friday. He had a two-out, RBI triple in the second inning, then led off the fifth with a double.
Turnbull didn’t pay much attention to him at second and Mondesi stole third base uncontested, no throw from Haase. He trotted home on a sacrifice fly by Franco.
The steal of third came immediately after Tigers shortstop Willi Castro made a lackadaisical throw to first that handcuffed first baseman Harold Castro on a grounder by Salvador Perez.
But Turnbull shut the door. In his final start of 2020, Turnbull allowed the three runs on four hits with five strikeouts. He finishes the season with a 3.97 ERA.
Interim manager Lloyd McClendon summoned lefty Daniel Norris in the sixth with three left-handed hitters due up for the Royals. Norris struck out Alex Gordon, Franchy Cordero and Nicky Lopez. Well-played.