Alcides Escobar and the Kansas City Royals moved within one game of first-place Cleveland in the AL Central.
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports/Peter Aiken
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Brandon Moss is getting as hot as the Kansas City weather.
Moss drove in four runs, Mike Moustakas had three RBIs and the Kansas City Royals routed the error-prone Detroit Tigers 16-4 on Thursday night.
It was Moss’ second straight game with multiple RBIs after logging just two in his previous 29 games.
“I feel good,” Moss said. “It’s the first time I can actually say that all year without being afraid to say that and it won’t show up tomorrow. Everything is slowing down. I’m not swinging at 120 percent at every pitch. Taking good swings.”
Eric Hosmer and Whit Merrifield homered for the Royals, who moved within 1 1/2 games of first-place Cleveland in the AL Central.
“We’re right in the hunt,” winning pitcher Danny Duffy said. “We’re right where we want to be in late July.”
The 16 runs and 19 hits were season highs for Kansas City. For the first time in franchise history, the Royals scored four runs in four different innings.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Moss said. “Last night was a nail-biter. To come out early and get four in the first inning — and they helped us out a little bit. But to get a really good pitcher throwing that many pitches in the first inning and getting frustrated is big. You get him out of his game plan.”
Detroit committed three errors in the Royals’ four-run first, when only one run was earned. It was the most errors the Tigers have made in an inning since May 1, 2010.
Michael Fulmer, the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year, threw 37 pitches in the first. The heat index was 107 when the game started.
“When you throw 40 pitches in 100-degree heat, you’re probably not going to be 100 percent the rest of the game, and that’s all on me,” Fulmer said. “I should have made some better pitch-selection calls and obviously some better pitches.”
Fulmer (10-7), who had won his previous four starts, was removed after facing 18 batters. He retired only eight, and eight scored. It was the shortest outing of his career.
“Defensively, it was an ugly first inning. Maybe the ugliest inning we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “No way to frame it up. There’s no question it affected him.”
Hosmer hit his 14th homer in the four-run third, a prodigious 444-foot shot. Merrifield homered in a four-run sixth off Chad Bell.
Moss, who had three hits and two RBIs in Wednesday’s victory, drilled a two-out, two-run double to right-center in the third. Alex Gordon doubled home Moss to chase Fulmer.
Duffy (6-6) was staked to an 8-0 lead but struggled to make it into the sixth. Ian Kinsler had a two-run double for Detroit in a three-run fifth.
“I don’t want to say I ran out of gas, but I was not executing,” Duffy said.
Duffy faced three batters in the sixth and gave up three hits and a run, on Miguel Cabrera’s single. With Victor Martinez coming to the plate and two runners on in an 8-4 game, Mike Minor replaced Duffy and retired all three batters he faced.
The Royals expanded their lead with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Hosmer and Salvador Perez each hit an RBI single, and Moustakas had a sacrifice fly.
The Royals sent 10 batters to the plate in a four-run eighth, highlighted by Moss’ two-run single.
Duffy gave up nine hits, walked none and struck out four.
Andrew Romine made his first career start in right field. He has started at every position but pitcher and catcher this season for the Tigers.
Official scorer David Boyce’s call Sunday has been overturned by Major League Baseball. Instead of a game-ending single for Lorenzo Cain against Texas, it was changed to an error on Rangers right fielder Shin-Soo Choo.
Tigers: LHP Daniel Norris (left groin strain) will make a second minor league rehab start to get his pitch count up to around 90.
Royals: RHP Nathan Karns had season-ending thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in Dallas. The Royals are optimistic he will be ready around spring training. … Manager Ned Yost said closer Kelvin Herrera, who has been battling a sore throat and a fever, was feeling “a little better, a little stronger.”
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy tries to snap a 12-start winless drought at Kauffman Stadium when he faces the White Sox on Friday. Ex-Royals RHP James Shields will be Chicago’s starter.