Fifth-inning comeback leads Royals past Tigers
DETROIT (AP) — As Jim Leyland watched his Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night, he couldn’t help thinking about his team’s appearance in the 2006 World Series.
It wasn’t a happy memory.
That team lost in five games to St. Louis, thanks in large part to a bewildering number of errors by the pitching staff, and the same thing happened in a regular season game against Kansas City.
This time, Detroit pitchers made three errors in a 9-6 loss to the Royals.
“You can not make those kind of mistakes, and we’ve been doing it all season,” a disgusted Leyland said after the game. “You keep harping on this with the pitchers, but it is like they don’t listen.”
As he did after the Tigers lost to the Cardinals, Leyland vowed to take personal control of the situation in the spring.
“It’s hard to do full-speed fielding practice for the pitchers in the spring, because their arms aren’t ready, and it is almost impossible to simulate game conditions,” he said. “But I’ll tell you right now that this is something that will be addressed by the manager in spring training. The pitchers won’t be getting out early if this keeps happening.”
Mike Aviles had three RBIs and rookie Jarrod Dyson scored three times for the Royals, who also got three hits from Billy Butler.
“This was a good game for us,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. “We’ve had trouble scoring runs, but in the last few games we’ve been hitting the ball better. We will single you to death, but the power and run scoring had been lacking. Now I hope it continues.”
Bruce Chen (11-7) improved to 3-0 in his last five starts, allowing three runs, four hits and a walk in six innings. Chen came into the game with an 0-3 record and 8.05 ERA in five career outings — three starts — at Comerica Park.
“This win means a lot to me, because Detroit is a good club and they’ve always been tough on me,” he said. “Today, I needed to be different. I threw more fastballs than I ever have against them.”
Joakim Soria, the fifth Kansas City pitcher, got the last two outs for his 33rd consecutive save and 40th overall.
Galarraga (4-7), who gave up five runs in 5 1-3 innings, has only won twice in 18 starts since his near-perfect game against Cleveland on June 2. He matched a season-high with five walks.
“He’s been OK this year, but he did not pitch well today,” Leyland said. “He didn’t have his command, and that’s when he starts walking guys.”
Detroit took the lead on Austin Jackson’s third-inning sacrifice fly, then added two solo homers in the fourth. Ryan Raburn led off the inning with his 14th of the season, and Miguel Cabrera followed with his 35th, a 427-foot liner that cleared the first level of shrubs above the center field fence.
The Tigers, though, didn’t get another hit until rallying for three runs off rookie Greg Holland in the ninth.
“After the home runs, I was able to settle down, keep the ball down and pitch my game,” Chen said.
The Royals rallied in the fifth, scoring four times to take the lead. Galarraga retired the first two batters, but Dyson singled, stole second, took third on a passed ball and scored on Aviles’ single.
Butler followed with his third single of the game, and Wilson Betemit walked to load the bases. Kila Ka’aihue walked to drive in a run and Yuniesky Betancourt hit an infield single that Galarraga threw away, allowing a second run to score.
Butler made it 5-3 with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly, and the Royals put the game away in the eighth.
Lucas May started the inning with a single, and Dyson laid down a bunt. Reliever Alfredo Figaro misplayed the ball for an error, then threw it into the stands for his second error on the play.
“He just panicked,” Leyland said. “He made the first mistake and then he just did everything wrong. You could see that throw wasn’t going to be anywhere near the first baseman.”
Aviles followed with a two-run single to give the Royals a four-run lead.
Kansas City added two runs in the ninth on RBIs by May and Dyson.
Notes: Aviles lost control of his bat on a swing in the fifth inning and saw it fly into the Tigers dugout. The bat appeared to strike Leyland a glancing blow before bouncing down a staircase into the tunnel leading to the clubhouse. … Brandon Inge’s infield single in the third inning was his first hit in 20 career at-bats against Chen. … Butler grounded into his 30th double play of the season, the most by an American Leaguer since Oakland’s Ben Grieve hit into 32 in 2000.
Updated September 21, 2010