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RUBBER GAME ROYALS.....Kansas City 9, TIGERS 5, S 4/10/11
Posted on: 04-10-2011

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      The Royals hit Rick Porcello and a
parade of Tiger relievers early and often.
Detroit also played shoddy defense and
Kansas City defeated Detroit 9-5 Sunday
afternoon in the rubber game of their
3-game weekend series.
      Porcello (L, 0-2) allowed 5-R/5-ER on
9-0H & 3-W with 2-K in his 5-IP. Porcello
threw 61 of his 97 pitches for strikes.
      Meantime, Royals starter Luke Hochevar
gave up just 5-H with 0-W & 6-K in his 7-IP, throwing an efficient 97-pitches/
61-strikes. Hochevar got the win (1-1) even though three of those Bengal
basehits against him were homeruns which produced all four runs (3-ER)
scored off the Kansas City RHander.
      After Hochevar retired the first six Tiger batters, Jhonny Peralta (#1)
hit Hochaver's first pitch of the B-3rd 395-feet into the LField seats. Alex
Avila (#3) added a lead-off blast to RField in the B-6th, a homerrun which
had to be video replay confirmed because a fan reached over the railing
to catch the ball. It was determined the fan touched the ball above the yellow
homerun line which divides the wall and the railing. After Brennan Boesch
struck-out to open the B-7th, he teached base anyway when catcher Matt
Trainor couldn't hold on to the ball and then threw high to 1Base as Boesch ran
to the bag. Miguel Cabrera made the Royals pay for the mistake when Cabby
launched a towering 2rHR (#4) deep into the LField lower bowl.
      Detroit's other run came in the B-9th when two singles and a Ryan Raburn
sac-fly greeted second KayCee reliever Kanekoa Texeira.
        Porcello escaped a problem of his own making in the T-1st. Chris Getz
led-off the game with a single and went to third with 1-out on Porcello's
wild pickoff throw to 1Base for Detroit's first of four errors. However,
Porcello got Alex Gordon on a called third strike and clean-up man Billy Butler
on a 5-3 groundout to end the inning.         
        Getz walked to open the T-3rd. When Melky Cabrera followed with a
double, Tiger LFielder Ryan Raburn air-mailed his throw to 2Base all
the way to the tarp roll behind 1Base to plate Getz and move Cabrera
to third. Melky instantly scored oin an Alex Gordon RBI-G'out to give
KayCee a 2-0 lead they would not lose.
      Wilson Betemit led-off the T-4th with a bad hop single, stole second,
went to third on a Matt Treanor single and trotted home on Getz's
sac-fly to make it 3-1.
      The Royals got two more off Porcello in the T-5th. Kila Ka'aihue 1-out
singled and scored on a triple to the LCField gap by Jeff Francoeur. After
Betemit walked and Detroit MGR Jim Leyland gave Porcello a stern lecture,
it appeared Detroit would escape further damage. However, 3Bman Brandon
Inge threw wide on a double play ball and pulled Will Rhymes off 2Base.
Everybody was safe, Francoeur scored and it was 5-1.   
      Betemit's RBI-2B and Alcides Escobasr's RBI-1B in the T-7th gave the
Royals a 2-R inning and a 7-2 lead off first Tiger reliever Enrique Gonzalez.
      Gordon singled and went to third on another wild pickoff throw to 1Base,
this time by second Tiger reliever Daniel Schlereth in the T-8th. Gordon then
scored on Ka'aihue's sac-fly for an 8-4 Royals margin.
      A pair of doubles sandwiched around a rare 2-6 fielder's choice play put
two Royals in scoring position against third Tiger bullpenner Robbie Weinhardt
in the T-9th. Brad Thomas came on to permit one inherited runner to score on
Getz's second sac-fly of the ballgame for a 9-4 Royals bulge.
      When Texeira got in trouble in the B-9th, Royals closer Joakim Soria
arrived to induce a pair of fielder's choice grounders to record the save (#3).      
      Betemit went 4-for-4 plus a walk including two doubles, 2-R, 1-RBI and
a stolen base. Three other Royals had 2-H each.
      Peralta was 3-for-4 including a double and his solo homer while Cabrera
went 2-for-4 with his 2rHR & 2-R for Detroit.
      The Royals are 6-3 and the Tigers 3-6 through the first three series of
the season.

         KC            9-15-1, 11-LOB          (W) Hochevar, 1-1; (S) Soria, #3
         DET         5-10-4, 4-LOB               (L) Porcello, 0-2


TIGERS MGR JIM LEYLAND:    "We need to do the job a little bit better...
If you see today's game, [the fans] probably weren't real happy, because it
looked like a sloppy game, and it basically was...We just didn't shut them
down...Add-on runs are killers."

TIGERS SP RICK PORCELLO:    "I didn't mix my pitches well. Left-handed hitters
were all over the [two-seam] fastball. I didn't really work any of those guys in.
I know that I have to work those guys in to keep the sinker effective. Didn't
go a good job of that. I don't think my mix of pitches was [executed] very well,
and then at times when I needed to make some pitches and locate some fastballs,
I didn't do it quite well enough. It's something I have to bear down on and focus
on. I mean, it's inexcusable to not make the right pitch selection that I need to
make to get those guys out. I've faced those guys before. I know what I have
to do to get them out. Didn't go out there and do it."

TIGERS CA ALEX AVILA:    "[Hochevar is] probably one of the more underrated
guys in the league. He's got good stuff. He's got so many different weapons to
get you out with."

ROYALS SP LUKE HOCHEVAR:    "Even for the home run balls, if we have a lead
like that, I'm going to be aggressive. I'm not going to try to pick at corners."

ROYALS 3B WILSON BETEMIT:    "Everybody had a great game today. We did all
those little things we have to do. We have a man on third base with one out
and we bring 'em in. If we do those little things we're going to win a lot of games."

ROYALS RF JEFF FRANCOEUR:    "To come back and win the two games [after Friday's
Tiger Home Opener victory] the way we did, score some runs, play good defense
and have good pitching...we beat a good team here, two out of three. It's not
easy to do, so we're happy."


      Butler's T-3rd double extended his hitting streak vs Tiger pitching to
22 games.
      Betemit's fourth career 4-H game was his first since July, 2007. Entering
Sunday's game Betemit had only 4-H all this season.
      Tiger head trainer Kevin Rand said Sunday morning DLed Detroit reliever
Joel Zumaya was shut-down from his soft-toss program after his initial session
Thursday. Zumaya experienced discomfort in his surgically repaired right/
pitching elbow. Zumaya will rest a few more days before attempting to resume
throwing. Zumaya was limited to just one exhibition appearance in spring
training due to elbow pain.
      Sunday "Kids Opening Day" attendance was the smallest of the series in
spite of the best baseball weather by far of the weekend set. Gametime temp
under sunny skies was 64-degrees and rose to the upper 70s. The crowd count
was 28,984.
      The Tigers host Texas for a 3-game series of Monday through Wednesday
matinee games. RHPs Justin Verlander (1-0), Brad Penny (0-1) and Max
Scherzer (2-0) are Detroit's probable pitchers. The Rangers list RHP Alexi
Ogando (1-0), LHP C.J. Wilson (1-0) and TBA.



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