By Fred Liggett
The Kansas City Royals started the week red hot and riding the momentum of a series sweep over American League Central Division rival Minnesota. First up was a three-game series against another division rival the Detroit Tigers.
The Royals came close to it’s first four-game winning streak of the season on Monday but the visiting Tigers rallied with three runs in the ninth inning to beat the Royals 5-4. Tuesday night saw a large walk up crowd at Kaufman Stadium which resulted in over 25,000 in attendance. Royals fans were treated to strong performances by rookie pitcher Burch Smith, Mike Moustakas and All-Star catcher Salvador Perez. Smith in only his third start of the season threw 90 pitches and only gave up one hit before leaving the game in the seventh inning. Moustakas put the Royals on the board in the game thanks to a two-run homer in the first inning. The home run for Moustakas was his 20th of the season and he becomes one of seven Royals with at least four 20+ home run seasons. Perez hit a solo home run in the fifth inning to go along with a RBI single in the third inning. Perez flashed his All-Star form in the fourth inning when he threw out Tigers’ Niko Goodrum. Wednesday afternoon the Royals fell to Detroit 8-4 as the Tigers took the series 2-1.
On Thursday the KC Royals began an 11-day 10-game road trip that begins with a four-game set in New York. After a pair of night games on Thursday and Friday the Royals and Yankees will play at 12:05 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The Royals have scheduled Brad Keller, Heath Fillmeyer and Burch Smith to pitch the last three games of the series. The last time this trio of rookies pitched they became the first trio of rookies in major league history to allow three hits or less in 6+ innings of work in three consecutive starts.
This past week the Royals lone player move saw infielder Alberto Mondesi return to the active roster. To make room the Royals optioned outfielder Paulo Orlando to Omaha. The Royals begin the weekend road trip with a 31-70 record 4.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox for fourth place in the AL Central Division.