The two worst teams in the American League Central met in Detroit for the finale of a four-game series. One team was looking for a win to take the series; the other needed a win to tie it. A home run barrage by the winner decided things.
As they opened a four-game series in Detroit on August 8th, the KC Royals and Tigers had little to play for. Not much of the season remained, and that part of the campaign left behind was in tatters for both clubs. There would be no postseason for either team–the Royals were 35 games below .500, the Tigers 45 below.
The spoils were indeed small after the first three games of the series. The Tigers won the first two and the Royals the third; Detroit would win the series with a win in the finale, but the best KC could hope for was a win to tie it.
Despite the good Sunday afternoon weather, less than 20,000 paid to see the game, a probable reflection of its insignificance in the grand scheme of the stretch runs then developing around the majors. Those who did show up were treated to a home run barrage–but probably not by the team they preferred.
Even in the homer-happy season 2019 was, the Royals put on a dinger show worth watching…and wasted no time doing it. Whit Merrifield led off the game with a full-count homer to left. It was his 14th round-tripper of the season.
Then, after Alex Gordon flied to deep left for the first out of the inning and the game, Hunter Dozier clubbed his 21st home run, a bomb to left-center that gave KC an early two-run lead.
Jorge Soler hit the Royals’ next blast two innings later. In steady pursuit of Mike Moustakas’ club record 38, Soler slammed Daniel Norris‘ two-out, 1-1 pitch for his 34th, scoring Dozier to make it 4-1.
Kansas City had to wait five more innings, until the eighth, for its next home run, but the wait was worth it–first Dozier, then Soler, tagged Tiger reliever Drew VerHage, Dozier for his 22nd homer and Soler for his 35th. They were back-to-back shots to begin the inning and gave the Royals a 6-2 lead.
The Royals added four more runs in the ninth on Merrifield’s two-run single and Soler’s two-run double; the hits gave Merrifield three RBI’s for the game and Soler five. Jakob Junis pitched six strong innings, limiting the Tigers to their two runs, and Scott Barlow and Jake Newberry closed out the 10-2 win.
Until the KC Royals hit five homers on September 11th, the five they clubbed out of Comerica Park August 8th stood as the team’s home run high for the season and provided another top August moment.