Things looked really good for the KC Royals after the first five hitters of the game reached base safely. Kansas City scored three runs in the first inning, then Matt Strahm struggled to find the zone and the Royals’ bats went silent in a 5-3 loss Tuesday night in Detroit.
Whit Merrifield led off the game with a rocket to CF and ended up with a ground-rule double. Then Jorge Bonifacio, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, and Salvador Perez all singled and the Royals were up 3-0 with nobody out in the first inning.
Then Brandon Moss came to the plate and killed the rally. That’s a theme that’s been consistent all season and would be so again tonight.
Salvador Perez hit a ball 4,000,000 mph (conservative estimate) into centerfield in the top of the fifth inning, but center fielder Mikie Mah-took away what would have been at least two bases with one of the best catches you’ll see all year.
The Royals’ bats threatened again in the eighth inning. With Eric Hosmer on first, Mike Moustakas singled and the tying run was on first with one out. Brandon Moss (him again) struck out looking and Alcides Escobar grounded out to Jose Iglesias to end the inning.
In related news, Jorge Soler is hitting .324/.453/.667 with 11 HR in Triple-A Omaha.
The offense disappeared after the first inning, but perhaps the biggest story of the night was the continued struggles of starter Matt Strahm.
Strahm battled his command all night, throwing merely 48 of his 80 pitches for strikes. Strahm didn’t walk any batters in his 3.2 innings of work, but he was deep into counts far too often and when he missed, he usually missed over the heart of the plate.
The Royals were still up 3-1 in the third inning, but a Miguel Cabrera three run oppo-taco put Detroit up 4-3 and the Tigers would never look back.
Strahm didn’t make it out of the fourth inning, giving up five hits and five earned in his 3.2 IP.
If you’re looking for bright spots, Jorge Bonifacio, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, and Alcides Escobar all had multi-hit games for the KC Royals. Scott Alexander threw two scoreless innings in relief with three strikeouts.
The KC Royals will take on Detroit in game two of the three game set tomorrow night at 6:15 CT in the Motor City. The pitching matchup will consist of Ian Kennedy (1-6, 4.95) vs. Daniel Norris (4-5, 4.66). Kansas City is 37-38, but remains 2.5 games back of the Cleveland Indians.