KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — It was a good recipe — walks and extra-base hits – for the Detroit Tigers’ offense to break out.
J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton hit two-run doubles with two outs in the third inning as the Tigers held off the Kansas City Royals 6-5 on Wednesday night.
Royals starter Ian Kennedy (0-5) walked the bases loaded before giving up the doubles on consecutive pitches.
“We got some walks, which certainly helped, big hits,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “The walks put us in a position to score runs. We had good at-bats. It was a good offensive day.”
Victor Martinez and Alex Avila homered for the Tigers, who completed a 4-7 three-city trip.
“This trip was a tough one,” Avila said. “We kind of all knew that, getting shut out three times over the course of the last 10 days was not fun and not something that a lot of us are used to with this team.”
Kennedy was pulled after three innings, allowing five runs, four hits and three walks. Kennedy is 0-7 in 13 starts since he last won on Sept. 11. He threw 41 pitches in the third.
Kennedy went 0-3 with an 11.30 ERA in May, allowing 18 earned runs, 16 hits, including six home runs, and nine walks in 14 1/3 innings.
The Royals took a 3-0 lead on four hits in the first. Salvador Perez singled home Lorenzo Cain with the first run. Cheslor Cuthbert’s two-out single scored Eric Hosmer and Perez.
“I think that’s the most frustrating part about it,” Kennedy said. “Physically you feel good for the first time in close to a month and then you say, ‘OK, it might be a good day.’ And then it just unravels in the third inning and your outing comes out to be pretty awful.”
Cuthbert doubled and scored on Alcides Escobar’s two-out single in the fourth.
The Royals cut the lead to one run in the eighth when Jorge Bonifacio and Whit Merrifield singled. Bonifacio scored on Alex Wilson’s wild pitch. Merrifield extended his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games, the longest by a Royal this season.
“The bullpen did a great job,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “You need for them to hold the fort and hope the offense claws back in it. And the offense was clawing; we just came up one run short.”
Justin Wilson worked the ninth to collect his fifth save in six opportunities.
Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd did not make it out of the fourth, permitting four runs and seven hits. Warwick Saupold (1-0) allowed one hit in three scoreless innings to pick up the victory.
“I just kept the ball down,” Saupold said. “I wanted early contact and get as many innings as I can and bridge the gap to the back end of that bullpen. They’ve been really good this month and all year.”
Hosmer led off the fifth with a single for his 1,000th hit.
PEREZ TOPS CATCHERS VOTING
Perez, a four-time All-Star selection, is leading American League catchers on the first release of the All-Star ballot. “I love it a lot,” Perez said of the mid-summer classic. “Thank you for the fans. I hope they keep voting for me. It’s a lot of fun. The first one was Mariano Rivera’s last All-Star game. The second one was Derek Jeter’s. Guys you know are going to be in the Hall of Fame. You relish those moments.”
Tigers: Upton left with a mild strain of his right quadriceps while running the bases in the third inning. “Running to second,” Upton said. “I felt it grab a little bit. I’m not in pain right now, so we’ll see how it feels on Friday.” … 2B Ian Kinsler, who is on the DL with a left hamstring strain, is eligible to come off it on Tuesday. “I’d be shocked if he doesn’t,” Ausmus said.
Tigers: RHP Michael Fulmer will start Friday as the Tigers open a homestand against the White Sox. The Tigers play 12 of their next 15 in Detroit.
Royals: LHP Jason Vargas will start Friday in the opener of a weekend series with Cleveland.
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