Kansas City Royals hang on to beat Detroit Tigers
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. 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 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.
“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.
“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, 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).