Close Call: Royals Beat Tigers in Wild Slugfest


A close call in the top of the ninth saved the Royals in a back and forth matchup against Detroit.

Greg Holland was trying to protect a 9-8 lead after a leadoff walk and groundout put Austin Jackson on second. A wild pitch to Miguel Cabrera put Jackson on third with just one out. Holland escaped with a big strikeout on a slider to take a sac fly or RBI ground out away from the Tigers options to tie.

After an intentional walk to Prince Fielder, Holland’s first pitch to Delmon Young was driven deep to the right field corner and ruled foul. The Tigers questioned the ruling and multiple replays showed different looking results. It appeared to land in fair territory, but one replay showed the ball going behind the pole. The umpires upheld the ruling. One the next pitch, Young flew out to Alex Gordon in left.

The win secured the Royals first winning August since 2000 with a current 15-11 record in the month and three games to go.

It’s a good thing too. The Royals almost squandered a rare opportunity against Justin Verlander.

In 21 career starts entering Tuesday night’s game, Verlander had thrown 141 innings against the Royals for a 2.36 ERA and a 134 to 37 K/BB ratio. Earlier this season, Verlander threw a complete game and another eight innings against the Royals and gave up just four runs between both. In the first inning tonight, the Tigers scored three runs off of Luis Mendoza and it seemed like that would probably be enough.

Instead the Royals put up three of their own in the bottom of the inning to tie it, all with two outs. The big hit was a two run single by Mike Moustakas, who had three hits and three RBI on the night, hopefully signs he’s shaking out of a slump. The Royals scored four more in the second on five straight hits. The Tigers scraped back and ended up tying the game in the top of the eight after a Jhonny Peralta homer. In response, Moustakas doubled in Lorenzo Cain after he stole second pinch-running for Billy Butler in the bottom of the eighth to retake the lead.

Then came the Holland save.

It was his eighth save since taking over for Jonathan Broxton and the most dramatic so far.

The Royals racked up 15 hits, including three singles from Butler. Gordon added two more doubles to his league-leading total, and Sal Perez had two as well. The first six hitters had 13 of the hits tonight and Gordon, Butler and Moustakas all drove in multiple runs. It was just enough to get by tonight.