Punchless Royals lose 2-1 to Tigers in 10 innings
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
DETROIT (AP) — Jeff Francoeur was as perplexed as anyone after the Kansas City Royals struggled to hit the ball out of the infield against Doug Fister.
One night after an 18-hit game, the Royals made 18 straight outs before finally breaking up Fister’s perfect game in the seventh inning. Kansas City went on to lose 2-1 to the Detroit Tigers on Ramon Santiago’s solo homer in the 10th.
“I ran past Tom Hallion, the umpire at first, after we went 18 up, 18 down,” Francoeur said. “He said, ’Baseball’s a funny sport, isn’t it?”’
Kansas City beat Detroit 9-5 on Monday night.
Santiago, who entered Tuesday’s game in the eighth as a pinch-runner, lifted Aaron Crow’s pitch over the right-field wall for only his fourth homer of the year. Joaquin Benoit (4-3) pitched two innings for the Tigers, matching his longest outing of the season.
Crow (3-4) struck out Wilson Betemit with the bases loaded to end the ninth, but he got only one out in the 10th before allowing Santiago’s surprising homer.
“I knew I hit it hard, but I was running as fast as I could because I wasn’t sure where it was going to end up,” Santiago said. “Once I saw it go out, I wanted to enjoy it, because you don’t get to do that very often.”
Fister ended up allowing a run and four hits over 7 2-3 innings. He struck out six.
“I felt like every time I sat down, I was right back up, the way he was throwing,” Kansas City starter Jeff Francis said.
Alex Gordon ended Fister’s perfect game bid with a leadoff double in the seventh, and Billy Butler eventually drove him in with a sacrifice fly to give the Royals a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers tied it in the eighth on Magglio Ordonez’s two-out RBI single off reliever Greg Holland.
“Fister was fantastic and their guy was outstanding,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “That’s the art of pitching — the way those guys pitched. Fister changed speeds and used both sides of the plate. Francis would throw a changeup, and then he would throw a slower changeup, and then he would throw an 86-mph fastball.
“They aren’t overpowering pitchers, so you go 0 for 4 against them and scratch your head, but they are very smart and know what they are doing.”
Francis allowed two hits in 6 1-3 innings before being pulled with two on in the seventh. Holland retired Victor Martinez and Alex Avila to end the threat.
“I kind of felt like I could have gotten out of it, but the way Holland’s pitched — he showed it in that inning — he got out of it for me,” Francis said. “I don’t think it was the wrong move. I think Holland’s as capable as anybody of getting out of that.”
Holland has allowed only one of his 29 inherited runners to score this season, but he stayed in the game for the eighth inning and the Tigers managed to tie it. With men on first and third and two outs, Ordonez singled up the middle to make it 1-1.
The Royals had missed a chance to pad their lead in the top of the eighth when they put men on second and third with one out. Shortstop Jhonny Peralta fielded Alcides Escobar’s grounder and threw home to catch Mike Moustakas trying to score. Phil Coke then relieved Fister and struck out Gordon.
Detroit nearly won it in the ninth when Louis Coleman allowed three straight two-out walks, but Crow came in and got out of the jam.
Notes: In his last three starts, Fister has allowed two runs in 21 2-3 innings. ... Martinez’s hard grounder in the ninth handcuffed first baseman Eric Hosmer, but the ball bounced off him and over to second baseman Chris Getz, who threw back to Hosmer covering first for an odd 3-4-3 groundout. ... It was Benoit’s third outing of more than an inning this season. ... The Tigers and Royals will finish their four-game series with day games Wednesday and Thursday. Rick Porcello takes the mound for Detroit on Wednesday against Felipe Paulino. ... The Tigers are 9-5 against Kansas City this season.