Kansas City, Mo. — Wily Peralta had allowed one earned run in 26.2 innings coming into his start Friday night. He gave up three in one fatal swing as the Kansas City Royals stopped the Tigers’ seven-game winning steak with a 5-3 win at Kauffman Stadium
After breezing through the first two innings, on just 19 pitches, Peralta suddenly stopped commanding the strike zone. He fell behind a string of eight straight batters in the third and fourth innings — and he ultimately paid for it.
A lead-off walk to Hunter Dozier in the third came around to score on a two-out single by Whit Merrifield. Then, with two on and one out in the fourth, he fell behind Ryan O’Hearn 2-0. Peralta stuck out O’Hearn with back-to-back split-changeups in the second inning. In a 2-0 hole, though, he had to challenge him with a fastball.
O’Hearn sent the 94-mph heater into the waterfalls beyond the left-center field wall, breaking a 1-1 tie and sending the Royals on their way.
Carlos Santana added a solo home run in the fifth.
The Tigers didn’t do much against Royals lefty Kris Bubic, again. It’s the third time they’ve faced him and they’d managed just two runs in 10 innings off him in the first two.
Willi Castro jumped a first-pitch fastball and hit it 424 feet into the seats in left-center leading off the third. It was his seventh homer of the season and the only run Bubic surrendered on Friday night.
They had him on the ropes a couple of times, though. Both times, he escaped trouble at the expense of Tigers rookie shortstop Zack Short.
With runners on the corner and one out in the fourth, Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier made a sparkling backhanded play of a Short ground ball and started a 5-4-3 double-play.
In the sixth inning, the Tigers loaded the bases with one out. Bubic got Short to bounce into a 6-4-3 double-play this time. Short stranded five runners in those two at-bats.
They broke through against reliever Kyle Zimmer, and Zimmer aided in his own demise. He walked No. 9 hitter Derek Hill (who had two hits in his previous at-bats) and then threw two wild pitches. Castro scored on the second one.
Jonathan Schoop, whose single in the sixth extended his career-long hitting streak to 13 games, singled Hill home to cut the deficit to 5-3.
Lefties Derek Holland (four straight outs) and Daniel Norris (scoreless eighth, punching out Salvador Perez and Andrew Benintendi with 95-mph fastballs) kept the deficit slim. But the Tigers couldn’t dent the back end of the Royals bullpen.
Scott Barlow retired all four hitters he faced and veteran Greg Holland set the Tigers down in order in the ninth.