Tigers Hand Royals Their Sixth Straight Loss at Home
KANSAS CITY (AP) -- Manager Ned Yost was second guessing himself after the Kansas City Royals' 4-3 loss Wednesday night to the Detroit Tigers.
The Royals have lost seven straight, including their first six games at Kauffman Stadium, the most consecutive home losses in franchise history to start a season. The Royals lost their first five at home in 1993.
Prince Fielder drove in the go-ahead run with two out in the seventh with a single off left-handed reliever Jose Mijares. After Gerald Laird scored and Miguel Cabrera advanced to second on a wild pitch, Yost opted to pitch to Fielder instead of walking him intentionally.
"The first time it was just a good case of hitting," Yost said of Cabrera's single to beat a shift. "The second time was pure stupidity on my part, plain and simple that's what it was. After the wild pitch, they had a runner on second. I started to overthink the situation. I know how aggressive Prince can be with runners in scoring position. If we can expand a little bit, we might get him to chase, hit into the shift.
"That was just a dumb decision. I should have just walked him with the situation after the wild pitch. It might have been a situation we got out of there 3-3. I take the blame on that, full responsibility for just not being very smart."
He had Louis Coleman warmed up in the bullpen to face Delmon Young, who flied out to end the inning. But by the time Coleman entered, it was too late as Fielder's single proved to be the game winner.
Royals left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, who was starting on three days rest for only the fourth time in his career, pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth. Fielder reached on Sanchez's error to start the inning. Delmon Young singled and Ryan Raburn walked to load the bases. Sanchez retired Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Inge on infield flies and Gerald Laird flied out to center.
Sanchez left after five innings and 97 pitches, giving up two runs on four hits, while striking out three and walking three. Peralta singled in the second for the first Detroit run, and Fielder's two-out fifth inning double to right-center scored the other run off Sanchez.
Jose Valverde worked the ninth for his third save in four chances. Valverde got Alcides Escobar, who hit a two-run homer in the third, to ground into a game-ending double play.
"Sanchez did a nice job of getting us through five with the lead," Yost said. "We just kind of lost it in the seventh inning. We just can't catch a break. Escobar hits the ball hard down the line, but they're playing no doubles in that situation to end the game. We'll keep plugging away until we get it turned around.
"We tried to play the percentages on the shift, but when they've got hitters of that caliber they work against the shift sometimes. The percentages just didn't come out in our favor."
Max Scherzer (1-1), who had given up 10 runs on 13 hits and three walks in 8 2/3 innings in his first two starts, held the Royals to three runs on seven hits and one walk in six-plus innings. Scherzer, an All-Big 12 selection while at Missouri, lowered his earned run average from 10.38 to 7.98.
The dugouts and bullpens emptied briefly in the bottom of the seventh when Quintero was hit by Scherzer's pitch to lead off the inning. Laird had words with Quintero after he threw his bat at the catcher's feet before going to first base, which led to the players streaming onto the field. Words were exchanged, but no punches.