According to the most common quote, King Henry II of England asked “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” in regards to Thomas Beckett. The Royals could ask the same question of J.D. Martinez, who continued his hot hitting against them in the Detroit Tigers 4-2 victory.
Martinez made his presence felt in the first against starter Jason Vargas. After Vargas loaded the bases with one out, Martinez hit a sacrifice fly to right, giving the Tigers an early 1-0 lead. Rajai Davis followed with a two run home run in the bottom of the second, extending the Tigers advantage to 3-0.
Kansas City had their chances early against Detroit starter Max Scherzer. He walked two in the first, but Nori Aoki was caught stealing second to end the possible rally before it started. The Royals then got the first two batters on in the top of the second, but Scherzer struck out the next two batters before getting Alcides Escobar to pop up foul to first to end the threat.
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The Royals finally got on the board in the top of the fifth. With one out, Escobar and Aoki hit consecutive singles to put runners at the corners. Omar Infante followed with a bloop to right center, plating the Royals first run of the game. A walk loaded the bases, and it seemed as though the Royals were in position for a big inning. Instead, Scherzer once again managed to escape, getting Salvador Perez to line out before striking out Eric Hosmer to end the threat.
Detroit got that run right back in the bottom of the inning, courtesy of who else but J.D. Martinez. With one out and a 1-0 count, Martinez sent Vargas’ offering into the seats in left, giving the Tigers a 4-1 lead. The Royals scratched a run across in the top of the eighth on Lorenzo Cain‘s RBI groundout, setting the stage for a potential comeback against closer Joe Nathan.
Consecutive infield singles from Aoki and Infante to lead off the inning made such a rally seem possible. Both players were replaced by pinch runners, with Terrance Gore on first and, after a strikeout to Gordon, Jarrod Dyson running for Aoki at second. With Perez at the plate, a ball to the gap would have easily tied the game. Instead, Dyson was picked off of second, and Nathan struck Perez out on a pitch in the left handed batter’s box to send the Royals to a 4-2 loss, and a tie in the American League Central.
Jason Vargas took the loss, giving up four runs on six hits and three walks, striking out six in his 5.1 innings. Infante was 3-5 with an RBI in the loss.