Fulmer keeps it close, but Royals unleash on Tigers bullpen
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer wasn't thinking about his impressive scoreless innings streak evaporating into the hot Kansas City night, not as he watched Salvador Perez's home run fly over the wall in left field.
"Really, I was just thinking it was 1-0," Fulmer said.
It didn't stay that way for long.
Once the Detroit rookie's pitch count rose to 100 later in the sixth inning, forcing him out of the game, the Royals piled on against the Tigers' suspect bullpen and rolled to a 10-3 victory Friday night.
"The guy they had throwing today is really good. There's a reason he had so many scoreless innings," said the Royals' Eric Hosmer, who drove in three runs late. "We did a good job working his pitch count up, betting to the bullpen and we kind of exploded."
Fulmer had pushed his streak to a Tigers rookie-record 33 1/3 innings before Perez went deep. He left after walking the next two batters, allowing five hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings.
The 23-year-old rookie made it through the fifth inning unscathed. Fulmer shattered the franchise rookie record of 28 2/3 set by John Hiller in August 1967, and then trumped the 32 innings that Orel Hershiser went as a rookie for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1984.
Perez left Fulmer just short of Fernando Valenzuela's 35-inning mark in 1981.
Perez drove in two more in the seventh, Kendrys Morales hit a three-run shot in the eighth, and Hosmer added to the cushion as the Royals evened the four-game series at a game piece.
"I think I got a little amped up, especially after the home run," Fulmer said. "I need to do a better job of calming myself down and make sure I get that final out. And still give our team a shot to win."
Yordano Ventura (6-4) scattered six hits while striking out five without a walk for Kansas City, while Justin Upton hit a two-run homer and Miguel Cabrera a solo shot off Dillon Gee in the ninth.
"Ventura pitched well. Michael pitched well again," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "The one mistake cost him, cost him his runs-free innings streak. But he did an outstanding job."
The Tigers had their only success against Ventura early, getting singles in each of the first three innings that amounted to nothing. Cabrera singled leading off the fourth but was taken out by another double play, and Nick Castellanos was left stranded after his single.
Ventura proceeded to retire the next seven batters he faced in a dominant performance.
Nearly as good was Fulmer, who left runners on second and third by striking out Brett Eibner in the second inning, and got Lorenzo Cain to ground into a double play with the bases loaded in the third.
Perez turned on a two-out pitch in the sixth and sent it soaring 422 feet to left field, where it landed just shy of the Hall of Fame. It was Perez's third homer in his last four games.
The Tigers got runners on second and third in the seventh, thanks in part to two errors. Kelvin Herrera entered and retired Steven Moya -- Whit Merrifield made a marvelous play at second base for a fielder's choice -- and got James McCann for an inning-ending groundout to preserve the 1-0 lead.
All the drama evaporated as the Royals scored four in the seventh and five in the eighth.
"The game smelled like it was going to be a 1-0, 2-1 game until we broke it open," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Tigers: OF Cameron Maybin (left quad) ran before the game but got another night off. ... OF J.D. Martinez (right elbow fracture) is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks after getting hurt in Thursday's series opener. "Of all the injuries he could've had running into the wall," trainer Kevin Rand said, "this is probably the best."
Royals: OF Alex Gordon (broken wrist) will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Northwest Arkansas this weekend. He'll get about 25 at-bats before rejoining the Royals. "We'll judge it," Yost said, "but the way he looks in batting practice right now, I don't think he'll be there real long."
Tigers LHP Matt Boyd takes the mound against the team he faced in his major league debut last August. He will oppose Royals RHP Edinson Volquez, who worked seven scoreless against Cleveland in his last start.