KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Five things we learned from the Royals’ 4-3 win over the Tigers on Saturday.
The Royals, as they have done most of the season, were able to quickly flush the 16-2 beating the Tigers administered Friday night, and come back strong with an impressive win Saturday to stay relevant in the wild-card chase.
Closer Greg Holland, not exactly a seasoned veteran himself, still sees maturity and growth all around the clubhouse.
“That’s something we have learned to do,” he said. “If you let one bad game lead into another, that’s how you slump. We learned that from last year — we let frustration build upon itself. That’s why we’re vastly improved from last year.
“We’re part of a group of guys who are young and learning how to deal with failure. Part of being a big leaguer is learning about failure and struggling and then bouncing back the next day. That’s what we have shown we can do.”
Holland hasn’t failed much this season, though he did Thursday when he served up a game-tying homer to Seattle’s Raul Ibanez, his first blown save since early May.
But Holland bounced right back with a 1-2-3 ninth to close out Saturday’s win.
“Best part about being a reliever is that you don’t have to sit and wait four days to pitch,” Holland said.
DAVIS COMES THROUGH
We also learned that right-hander Wade Davis, recently demoted to the bullpen, remembered exactly how to pitch out of the pen, where he was so effective last season with Tampa.
Davis came in for left-hander Danny Duffy with the bases loaded in the fifth and struck out Torii Hunter before walking Miguel Cabrera, which forced in a run.
“But I wasn’t going to let (Cabrera) beat us,” Davis said.
Davis then got Prince Fielder to fly out to end the inning. Davis followed that with a 1-2-3 sixth and was credited with the victory to improve to 7-10.
“It’s always great to contribute,” the ever soft-spoken Davis said.
DUFFY COMMAND ISSUES
We all love to watch Danny Duffy when he’s on the mound because he has electric stuff. But Duffy can also be exasperating to watch because of his command issues. He walked five Saturday and couldn’t survive the fifth inning.
“Hey, I’m frustrated, too,” Duffy said. ” … It’s really hard to explain. I know what I’m doing wrong as opposed to 2011 when I was all over the place. It’s frustrating that you can’t just tell your body to do certain things. But I’m getting there.”
One of the key moments of the game came in the third inning when the Royals appeared as if they were going to waste a great chance to tie the score. David Lough led off with a double, moved to third on a bunt, but was thrown out at home after Alcides Escobar grounded to first.
But the Royals had runners on first and third with two outs after Alex Gordon singled to right. That brought up Emilio Bonifacio, who continues to impress the Royals and did so again by laying down a perfect bunt in front of third baseman Miguel Cabrera that scored Escobar.
“I knew I was going to do that,” Bonifacio said. “I saw him back a little and that’s what I like to do in that situation.”
Catcher Sal Perez now has seven homers and 22 RBIs in his past 21 games.
But Perez won’t hint at the secret to his recent power surge.
“No, no, I just try to help the team anyway I can,” Perez said, smiling.
But Perez’s power is one of the reasons the Royals are hanging in the playoff race.
“Oh, man, Sal has hit some bombs for us,” Holland said. “And at very big times.”
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.