Tigers 4, Royals 3: Cats sweep Crowns

Bless You Boys

The rubber match of the Royals and Tigers was played under brilliant blue skies, with a pleasantly warm temperature, on the greenest grass you could imagine. This guy in the background, called “Shirtless Boomhauer” by some here at BYB, sure seemed to enjoy himself:

Oh, right, the Tigers won, 4-3. So that’s nice too!

Spencer “Big Red” Turnbull got the start, and he was delightful: he pitched into the seventh, gave up six hits, whiffed seven, and walked but one. (News flash: it was not, repeat not, Carlos Santana.)

The Tigers got the scoring going in the bottom of the second against highly-touted rookie Daniel Lynch, who’s had a bit of a rough go of it so far in his three Major League starts. Miguel Cabrera — don’t look now, but his batting average is approaching .200! — blooped a single to right, and the Tigers’ fourth catcher in a week, Eric Haase, doubled to push Cabrera to third. A Willi Castro single, a JaCoby Jones single, an Akil Baddoo sacrifice fly and a Robbie Grossman single (a.) scored four runs, and (b.) ended Lynch’s outing.

Haase, meanwhile, is temporarily separated from his truck, as his mom outlined.

As you might be able to tell from the accent, Haase grew up in Michigan.

Meanwhile, Turnbull was a ground ball machine, getting nine of them in total to go with only a pair of fly-ball outs. He wasn’t dominating, but he was efficient: so, in short, he was the Spencer Turnbull we’ve gotten used to.

The Royals got on the board courtesy of Michael A. Taylor, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth. He eventually scored on a double-play groundout by Whit Merrifield — who has been well-handled by the Tigers so far this year, amazingly — to make it 4-1.

Cabrera continúa siendo histórico. (That’s a combination of Google Translate and my high school French, which is pretty close to Spanish, right?)

Aside: I’m not sure why more baseball reporters don’t learn Spanish. It seems like that’d really open up a lot of interviews that other journalistic outlets wouldn’t be able to get.

Alex Lange took over for Turnbull with one on and one out in the seventh; after a walk, he managed to get the next two outs and end the frame uneventfully. Tyler Alexander then started the eighth.

I don’t really know what’s been going on with Alexander lately — or, really, all season. Coming into today, Alexander gave up runs in seven of his nine appearances, which isn’t what you’re looking for in a reliever. He sandwiched a groundout in between two singles today, leaving a “runners on the corners, one out” situation for José Cisnero, who hasn’t exactly been lights-out this year himself. What did he do, though? Struck out Hunter Dozier, struck out Michael A. Taylor. Nice.

Let’s take a minute to mention Kris Bubic (pronounced “BOO-bytch.” My guess? Polish) — Tyler Zuber finished the third for Lynch, and Bubic started the fourth. He gave the Royals five innings of relief, giving up three hits and four walks, striking out a half-dozen. I wish there was a statistic that honoured a relief outing like this: long, thankless mop-up duty, performing solidly and stoically.

Gregory Soto came on in the ninth. This was his third appearance in three days; he got the win in the I-can’t-believe-they-blew-a-7-run-lead on Tuesday, then got the save last night but walked a batter. His last “clean” outing was April 27 in Chicago, and he started off his outing today the same way he did last night, by walking the leadoff batter, Nicky Lopez (the #9 hitter, to boot).

It was a matter of time before Whit Merrifield did something, and that something was a double over Grossman’s head, putting runners on second and third with none out for Santana. He grounded out to second, scoring Lopez but making the first out of the inning. Salvador Perez drilled the first pitch he saw to centre, scoring Merrifield, chasing Soto.

Enter… Michael Fulmer.

Jorge Soler popped out to second.

Andrew Benintendi struck out on a nasty slider.

The Tigers, miraculously, have won four in a row, and are on a mission.

You’re next, White Sox.

Miscellaneous Items of Interest

  • With the loss today, the Royals have now lost 11 straight games.
  • I got curious and took a look at the all-time top players in Royals history in terms of WAR (by Baseball Reference). The top 5 is led off by George Brett (88.6), which isn’t surprising. But he was followed by Kevin Appier (47.0), Amos Otis (44.8), Willie Wilson (42.4) and Bret Saberhagen (40.7). Never would’ve guessed ‘em.
  • Today would’ve been Bea Arthur’s 99th birthday. You ever go back and watch old episodes of Golden Girls? The humour’s a lot dirtier than you remember, I promise you.

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