DETROIT (AP) — Michael Fulmer shut down Kansas City’s ninth-inning rally for his second save, and the Detroit Tigers’ 4-3 win Thursday to extend the Royals’ losing streak to 11 games.
Detroit led 4-1 entering the ninth, but Kansas City scored twice of Gregory Soto on a groundout by Carlos Santana and an RBI single from Salvador Perez.
Fulmer relieved Soto and got a popout from Jorge Soler and struck out Andrew Benintendi swinging to end it.
“Just a ton of confidence. He’s been in big situations before,” catcher Eric Haase said about Fulmer. “It’s a little different role for him but his stuff is the same. He’s a big-time pitcher and for him to look like he does now after everything he’s been through, it’s fantastic.”
Fulmer was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2016 and an All-Star in 2017, both as a starter, before Tommy John and knee surgeries.
The Royals led the AL Central at the start of this skid but are now 16-20.
“It’s impossible to deny the way that you feel with the compounding losses,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said.
Spencer Turnbull (2-2) allowed a run and six hits over 6 1/3 innings for Detroit. He walked one, struck out seven and hit a batter as the Tigers rounded out a three-game sweep.
“From what I’ve seen, that was one of his better days as far as being able to locate his pitches. Even his misses were barely misses,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said about Turnbull. “He was doing what he wanted to do with the baseball.
“Maybe he misfired here and there but it was a really efficient, good day for him. And once we got the lead he was super aggressive, which I really like. And that put-away slider was really effective.”
Daniel Lynch (0-2) allowed four runs, three earned, in the second inning and was pulled with two outs in the third.
Turnbull departed after Nicky Lopez’s one-out single in the seventh. Alex Lange took over and got Whit Merrifield to bounce into a forceout. Lange then walked Santana to bring the tying run to the plate, but Salvador Perez bounced into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
The Royals once again brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the eighth, but Jose Cisnero fanned Hunter Dozier and Michael A. Taylor.
“Lots of chances,” Matheny said, adding “today we had chances for damage in the fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth and couldn’t do it.”
Kansas City threatened with runners on first and third and one out in the sixth, but Turnbull struck out Ryan O’Hearn and got Dozier on a groundout.
The Tigers scored all of their runs in the second on RBI singles by Willi Castro, Jacoby Jones and Robbie Grossman and a sacrifice fly by Akil Baddoo.
The Royals made it 4-1 in the fifth on Merrifield’s double-play grounder.
Haase started at catcher for Detroit one day after being recalled from Toledo. Both catchers who started the season for the Tigers, Wilson Ramos (lumbar spine strain) and Grayson Greiner (left hamstring sprain), are on the injured list.
Royals: Play a doubleheader Friday against at the Chicago White Sox. RHP Brad Keller (2-4, 7.31) is expected to start the opener.
Tigers: Play the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday, with LHP Tarik Skubal (0-5, 5.67) facing RHP Jake Arrieta (3-3, 4.31).
Source: AP News