Kansas City, Mo. — For such a low-wattage, low-scoring baseball game, there was a lot going on in the Tigers’ 3-1 loss to the Royals on Saturday at Kauffman Stadium.
Not the least of which was the potential loss of another starting pitcher. A day after Casey Mize was placed on the injured list (sprained medial collateral ligament in his right elbow), Matt Manning was pulled after just two innings and 38 pitches.
The Tigers announced he was feeling discomfort in his right shoulder.
The Royals broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning. Reliever Will Vest left an 0-2 slider up and over the plate and Hunter Dozier launched it into the seats in left — a two-run home run.
Manning allowed five singles in his two innings, but the damage was limited to just a run thanks in a large part to a couple of stellar defensive plays.
Third baseman Jeimer Candelario helped Manning out of a mess in the first inning with a diving stop to his left and quick throw to first to get Salvador Perez. And in the second inning, left fielder Eric Haase threw out Hunter Dozier at the plate trying to score from second on a single.
Candelario made three sterling defensive plays. He took a second hit away from Perez in the sixth inning with a backhand play and strong throw behind the bag at third. And in the fourth, robbed Michael A. Taylor with another backhanded stop.
Veteran reliever Drew Hutchison took over for Manning and kept the Royals off the board for three innings. He gave up a walk and single to the first two batters he faced then dispatched nine straight.
His slider was befuddling the Royals hitters. Throwing it off a 94-mph four-seam fastball, he induced six misses on 10 swings with the slider.
But the Tigers’ offense couldn’t take advantage of seven walks issued by Royals pitchers, six by lefty starter Kris Bubic. Only one of the seven crossed the plate. That was Daz Cameron, making his first start of the season, who scored on a double by catcher Dustin Garneau.
Cameron, though, very nearly got picked off. He ran on first movement and Bubic threw to first. But he was able to beat the throw to second from first baseman Carlos Santana.
Garneau’s double was one of just four hits the Tigers mustered.
Robbie Grossman, in his first game back after missing three with a jammed hip, had two walks and a single and just missed a home run in the seventh inning. The ball traveled 385 to the wall in right and would have been a home run in 28 other ballparks, including Comerica Park.