Royals hand Tigers ninth straight loss
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One night does not make up for a lost season for Paulo Orlando, but it does help erase some bad memories.
Alcides Escobar hit a two-run double in a three-run eighth, an inning after Orlando homered for the first time in more than a year, and the Kansas City Royals defeated the Detroit Tigers 7-4 on Wednesday night.
Orlando was on Kansas City’s opening day roster but was sent to Triple-A Omaha after a sluggish start. He fractured a shin May 18 and did not return until July 21. He was among the September call-ups.
“It’s a tough year,” Orlando said. “I made an adjustment in my swing and then got hurt.”
Orlando homered with two outs in the seventh off Drew VerHagen. The blast drove in Escobar, who had tripled.
“I try to be aggressive after two balls,” Orlando said. “The next pitch I think about swinging. I knew it was gone, so I try to celebrate for the team.”
Escobar’s double in the eighth scored Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, who both had walked. The first run of the inning scored on a Chad Bell wild pitch.
Detroit lost its ninth straight.
Scott Alexander (5-4) picked up the win with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Mike Minor was summoned to get the final two outs and he collected his fourth save.
Royals starter Jason Hammel did not allow a hit after giving up a RBI double to James McCann in the third inning. Hammel allowed three runs and six hits in six innings, striking out six and walking two.
Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann gave up two runs and four hits in six innings in a no-decision.
“Zim did a nice job,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “Real good slider, got us through six. Just couldn’t lock it down in the bullpen, as simple as that.
“And they had a couple of really nice defensive plays. One, I think, early, in the first inning, Paulo Orlando ran down Nick Castellanos’ ball. I thought that was a really game-changing play early.
“And then Escobar’s play on (Jose) Iglesias with two runners on (in the eighth) was a huge play for them. Both of them kind of stopped us in our tracks even though we did manage to score one run in the first. They’re a very good defensive team, so those hurt.”
The Tigers took an early 3-0 lead.
Ian Kinsler walked on four pitches to lead off the game, and moved to second on Alex Presley’s single. Jeimer Candelario laced a single to center, scoring Kinsler.
The Tigers reeled off four consecutive hits in the third inning to score two more runs. One-out singles by Presley and Nicholas Castellanos started it. Candelario had his second straight run-producing single, and McCann placed a double down the left field line to score Castellanos.
With runners on second and third with one out, Hammel prevented further damage by striking out Efren Navarro and retiring Dixon Machado on a ground ball.
“The tale of my 2017, bleeders and bombs,” Hammel said. “I couldn’t find the middle ground. I felt like I didn’t really trick anybody this year. I’d like to say a subpar year for myself, individually. I did some good things and some bad things, too. I fell short of expectations for myself. It was disappointing.”
Candelario had two hits and drove in three Tigers runs.
The Royals reduced the deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the third. Melky Cabrera’s two-out single scored Alex Gordon and Whit Merrifield. Gordon was nearly picked off first base, but after a Tigers challenge and a 2 minute and 25 second delay, the call on the field was not overturned.
NOTES: Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera said he will seek a second opinion on his two herniated discs once he returns Monday to Florida. He said his back has been bothering him all season after he hurt it lifting heavy weights in spring training. ... Andrew Romine will play all nine positions for the Tigers in their Sunday season finale at Minnesota. Only four big league players have done that in one game. ... The Tigers signed Dominican 3B Pedro Martinez Jr., who is the son of the Hall of Fame pitcher. ... Royals CF Paulo Orlando made his sixth start of the season. ... Tigers LHP Daniel Norris and Royals RHP Danny Duffy are the Thursday probables for the series finale. ... The last time the Tigers lost nine in a row was September 2005.