Royals Hammer Tigers to Buoy Struggling Luke Hochevar
KANSAS CITY (AP) -- Chris Getz reached base three times. Melky Cabrera pushed his hitting streak to eight games. Alex Gordon belted a long three-run homer, and Billy Butler added three hits and a pair of RBIs.
Pretty nice production from the top of the order.
The Kansas City Royals finally generated some offense Saturday night, and their bullpen carried the load after Luke Hochevar was chased in the fourth inning of a 13-6 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
"The top four guys in our lineup today produced a lot of offense," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We had eight or nine hits, a bunch of RBIs -- the majority of the RBIs. Billy swung the bat really, really well tonight, as did Melky, and Gordo with the big three-run homer was key."
Alcides Escobar also drove in three runs and scored three times for the Royals, who built a seven-run lead against Charlie Furbush (1-3) before Hochevar gave much of it away.
The right-hander was battered for six runs before he was yanked with two out in the fourth. Greg Holland (3-1) wiggled out of trouble to earn the victory, and Everett Teaford tossed three shutout innings in his return from the minors to finish off a game that lasted 3 hours, 24 minutes.
"I'm really glad I was able to finish it out just so tomorrow we're that much more fresh out there," Teaford said, "and then heading into the All-Star break we'll be real good to go."
Brennan Boesch had three hits and drove in a pair of runs for Detroit, which could have moved ahead of Cleveland and into first place in the AL Central with a victory.
The Tigers were done in by a pair of errors that led to eight unearned runs.
"When you have a bad game like we did tonight, that's what happens. You don't get out of it," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "You don't expect the pitcher to get out of it all the time."
Especially when your pitcher is struggling anyway.
The 25-year-old Furbush, making his second career start, gave up nine runs in 2 2/3 innings -- though just four of them were earned. He was optioned to Triple-A Toledo after the game.
"Rough one," Furbush said. "This was a rough one."
Hochevar said pretty much the same thing.
He mowed through the Tigers on seven pitches in the first inning, but wound up allowing nine hits in his shortest start of the season. The dismal performance came one start after he gave up five runs in just 4 1/3 innings at Colorado.
"We swung the bats extremely well tonight, played great defense and then the bullpen came in and pitched well," Hochevar said, "but for my part I need to find a way to get back to helping the team."
Eric Hosmer's run-scoring fielder's choice gave Kansas City a first-inning lead, and Escobar added another run in the second on another fielder's choice. The Royals then put runners on second and third before Furbush hit Gordon to load the bases for Butler, who came through with a two-run single through the left side after squandering a couple of key chances the previous night.
The Tigers trimmed Kansas City's lead to 4-2 in the third on two-out singles by Boesch and Miguel Cabrera, but Getz limited the damage by leaping up to snare Victor Martinez's liner to second.
The Royals piled on with two outs in the third after Ramon Santiago's error on an easy grounder to shortstop allowed the inning to continue. Getz and Cabrera each hit an RBI single, and Gordon hit the first pitch he saw over the wall in center.
"That's what the top of the lineup is there for," Butler said. "You don't get it every night."
Detroit started to rally by loading the bases with none out in the fourth, and Don Kelly scored when Escobar made an error with two outs. Santiago and Boesch each drove in a run, and Cabrera and Martinez reached on walks to force in another one.
But the Royals' bullpen took over from there, and their offense tacked on four more runs.
"Bullpen has been great all year long and that's been the strength of our club," Yost said. "We can get past the fifth inning with the lead, we feel real good about what we have down there."