KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Burch Smith is back in the win column after a long time.
Smith picked up his first win in nearly five years, Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez homered, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Detroit Tigers 5-4 on Tuesday night.
Smith (1-1) gave up just one hit — a single by Niko Goodrum to lead off the fourth — and walked two while striking out six in 6 1/3 innings. He got his second career win, and first since Sept. 15, 2013, for San Diego against Atlanta.
Injuries limited the right-hander to 5 1/3 innings the next three seasons. The Royals obtained Smith in the Rule 5 draft last December. He was making his third start of the year after beginning the season with 24 relief appearances.
“I’m definitely excited,” Smith said. “It’s been a long time. I’m just happy to get the opportunity to get a win and start.”
Smith retired nine straight hitters after Goodrum’s single before walks to Nicholas Castellanos and Jeimer Candelario with one out in the seventh ended his night. He left to a standing ovation.
“It was really special,” he said.
He acknowledged he was running on fumes in the seventh.
“I was actually thinking that was the most pitches I’ve thrown in about five years, so I was pretty tired,” Smith said.
In the past three games, Brad Keller, Heath Fillmyer and Smith have each pitched at least six innings, allowing three hits or fewer and striking out at least six, becoming the first rookie trio to accomplish that in consecutive starts.
“What a game Burch pitched,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He was on the attack. He had three pitches going — his fastball, curveball and changeup. He put them in good locations, very few mistakes.”
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire was equally impressed with Smith.
“He was spinning the ball good,” Gardenhire said. “With the shadows and stuff, the kid pitched really well. He knew how to get people out here and he threw the ball good, in and out, and he gave them a great chance to win a game.”
Tim Hill replaced Smith in the seventh and gave up a three-run homer to Victor Martinez, the only batter he faced, in a 10-pitch at-bat as Detroit pulled to 5-3. It was Martinez’s first home run since May 19.
Kevin McCarthy retired all five batters he faced, and Wily Peralta gave up Castellanos’ triple and a run-scoring grounder to Candelario in the ninth before finishing for his fifth save.
Whit Merrifield doubled to open the first and scored on Moustakas’ 20th homer, into the Royals’ bullpen, off Jordan Zimmermann (4-2).
Perez, who finished with three hits, had an RBI single in the third, a solo homer in the fifth, and a double in the eighth.
Jorge Bonifacio doubled and scored on Jose Iglesias’ fielding error on Brian Goodwin’s grounder in the sixth to make it 5-0.
Zimmermann, who had not worked in 13 days and had two cortisone shots for back pain, gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings. He lost to the Royals for the first time after coming in 4-0 with a 1.48 ERA in seven career appearances against Kansas City.
“I felt good,” Zimmermann said. “I’d throw a couple where I wanted and then three wouldn’t even be close. I didn’t have any pitch in any count. I bet I missed half of my pitches. It was ugly.”
BRETT WELCOMES TRUMP
Royals Hall of Fame 3B George Brett welcomed President Donald Trump on Tuesday to Kansas City, meeting him at the airport. Trump was in town to speak to the VFW national convention and for a fundraiser for Republican senatorial candidate Josh Hawley.
The day also marked the 35th anniversary of Brett’s Pine Tar Game at Yankee Stadium.
MOUSTAKAS JOIN POWER ELITE
Moustakas joins six other Royals with four seasons of 20 or more home runs. The others are Brett, Carlos Beltran, Steve Balboni, Bo Jackson, Mike Sweeney and John Mayberry.
Royals: INF Adalberto Mondesi was reinstated from the family medical emergency leave list. To make roster space, the Royals optioned OF Paulo Orlando to Triple-A Omaha.
Tigers: RHP Johnny Barbato (rotator cuff tendinitis) allowed three runs on one hit and two walks, while retiring only two in a rehab start with Class-A Lakeland. … Highly-touted prospect RHP Kyle Funkhouser, 24, fractured his right foot fifth metatarsal while walking home after a game with Triple-A Toledo.
Royals: RHP Blaine Boyer (lower back strain) made 13 pitches and retired two batters in a minor league rehab start Tuesday for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He walked one and struck out one. RHP Jesse Hahn (elbow strain) threw one scoreless inning in the second game of the doubleheader against Arkansas. He allowed one hit, throwing 10 pitches.
Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd is 0-2 with a 3.46 ERA in two starts against KC this season.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy is 5-2 with a 2.58 ERA in his past 11 starts.
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