Royals stage late comeback, defeat Tigers 3-2 in series opener
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Adalberto Mondesi and Terrance Gore used their speed to help the Kansas City Royals rally for a win.
Mondesi and Jorge Soler had consecutive one-out doubles in the eighth inning to tie it, and pinch-runner Gore stole third and scored the go-ahead run on Cheslor Cuthbert's ensuing single to lead the Royals to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.
Kansas City manager Ned Yost credited Mondesi for "a hustle double" — for his third hit of the game — to start the rally. He then scored on Soler's hit off Victor Alcantara (2-1). Gore ran for Soler, stole third and scored on Cuthbert's single between three fielders in right field to give the Royals their first lead of the game.
"Cuthbert got a break on that one, hit a pop-up into no-man's land," Yost said. "That's the first break we've caught in a while, but I'll take it."
Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire agreed with Yost's assessment of the go-ahead run.
"I guess it's no-man's land," Gardenhire said. "Somebody has to take charge on the ball. With us playing the infield in, it bloops out there. The ball landed and that was just a break for them."
It was the first time all season the Kansas City won when trailing after six innings.
Mondesi had rounded first aggressively on his first two hits before heading back to the bag. With his club down a run, he didn't hesitate on his last hit.
"Every time I hit the ball I run hard," Mondesi said. "When I hit it I saw the left fielder was in the gap, so I thought I had a chance. I just ran hard."
Scott Barlow (2-2) pitched a scoreless eighth inning to get the win, and Ian Kennedy got the last three outs for his fifth save.
The Tigers' bullpen wasted a brilliant effort from Spencer Turnbull. He scattered four hits and two walks with five strikeouts over six innings. It was only the third time in 14 starts that Turnbull had not allowed a run.
Jakob Junis had a quality start for Kansas City, allowing two runs and five hits — including solo homers by Nicholas Castellanos and Brandon Dixon — with five strikeouts in seven innings.
"We had a pretty good game plan and we executed it," Junis said. "We had a couple of mistakes, but luckily they were solos. That kept us in the game. I wanted to challenge them. I got behind a couple of times. I didn't want to put anybody on with a free base. Those were huge."
The Tigers got to Junis in the first on a 427-foot home run by Castellanos to left-center. It was Castellanos' 100th career homer, all with the Tigers. It marked the ninth time in 14 starts that Junis gave up a run in the first inning.
Dixon hit a 447-foot homer in the fourth, into the fountains 20 feet beyond where Castellanos' homer traveled, to put the Tigers up 2-0.
"(Junis) made some mistakes, center-cut two fastballs, but he did an awesome job of keeping us in the game," Yost said. "He gave us an opportunity to come back and win the game."
Following Turnbull's departure, Ryan O'Hearn led off the seventh with his sixth home run of the season. He broke an 0-for-15 slump with his 439-foot blast to right.
Ryan O'Hearn on homering off lefty Blaine Hardy to put the #Royals on the board tonight: "I've been working hard, and to come out and have some results and help the team win one tonight and hopefully put us in the right direction and get us going on something — it feels great." pic.twitter.com/vcpLN8W0g3
— FOX Sports Kansas City (@FSKansasCity) June 12, 2019
Royals 3B Hunter Dozier was eligible to come off the 10-day injured list, but he is not close to being ready. He's been on the IL since June 3, retroactive to May 31. Manager Ned Yost said, "We're going to be working him back into it, making sure everything is functional and feeling good. We've got to make sure that he's healthy, 100 percent. I don't know if we'll want to send him out on a rehab. When he's ready to go we'll make that decision."
Tigers: SS Niko Goodrum was removed from the game following the top of the third after he fouled a pitch off his knee. He left with a right knee contusion. He finished the at-bat with a strikeout and was replaced by Gordon Beckham in the bottom of the third.
The Tigers will send LHP Daniel Norris (2-5, 4.60 ERA) to the mound in the second game of the series. The Royals will counter with LHP Danny Duffy (3-3, 4.68 ERA). Duffy was hit on the right kneecap in his last start against Boston. The line drive bounced to third for the final out of the second inning. He came back out for the third but retired just one of six batters he faced in the inning before being pulled.