Kansas City at Detroit

W: B. Chen (1-0) L: P. Coke (0-2)
S: J. Soria (2)
HR: KC - None   DET - R. Raburn (1)

Royals 3, Tigers 1

CBSSports.com wire reports

DETROIT -- Bruce Chen baffled the Detroit Tigers for most of the afternoon, and when someone finally hit a ball hard, his fielders were there to halt a promising rally.

Chen allowed three hits over six impressive innings, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Tigers 3-1 on Saturday.

The left-hander's final pitch was hit to the left-field corner by Magglio Ordonez for a double, but outfielder Alex Gordon chased down the ball, and shortstop Alcides Escobar's relay to the plate beat Detroit's Will Rhymes, who was trying to score from first.

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"That was a huge play. I felt like I pitched well, but my defense has been great," Chen said. "Gordon hustled to get to that ball, and Escobar made a real good throw."

Wilson Betemit and Escobar drove in runs in the second inning for Kansas City, and Jeff Francoeur added a sacrifice fly in the ninth. The Royals' previous four wins all came in their last at-bat, but they needed no dramatics this time with Chen (1-0) protecting the early lead.

"Chen shows that you don't have to throw 95 miles an hour to get outs when you have command of every pitch," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "You can throw backdoor sliders and you can paint the black. All we can do is tip our hat to him. He pitched a fantastic game."

Chen allowed a third-inning single to Casper Wells, then retired 10 in a row. In the sixth, after Rhymes hit a two-out single, Ordonez doubled to the corner in left, setting up the play at the plate. If Rhymes had made it safely, Miguel Cabrera was due up next.

Leyland came out and argued the call after Rhymes was thrown out. He said afterward he thought catcher Brayan Pena was holding the ball against his chest and hadn't made the tag. A replay appeared to show Rhymes making contact with Pena's glove while sliding.

"I think he made a good call," Pena said. "It was a tough call for him, especially that bang-bang play."

That was it for Chen, who came out after 82 pitches. He struck out seven and walked one. The Tigers didn't fare much better against four relievers.

Detroit loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but Ordonez hit a popup on Robinson Tejeda's only pitch of the game.

"Those guys are hacking, and then they're pretty good hitters," Tejeda said. "I got lucky -- one pitch, one out. ... It was a cut fastball."

Joakim Soria pitched the ninth and allowed a two-out home run by Ryan Raburn before holding on for his second save.

Phil Coke (0-2) pitched well in his first start of the season for the Tigers, allowing two runs and three hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked four.

Coke made 77 starts as a minor leaguer but has been used almost entirely in relief since coming up with the New York Yankees in 2008. His only previous start in the majors was last October, when the Tigers sent him to the mound for the regular-season finale at Baltimore.

Still, the Tigers saw enough potential that they reserved a spot for him in the rotation in 2011. The schedule allowed Detroit to go with only four starters until Saturday, so Coke's first two appearances were out of the bullpen.

Coke allowed a run-scoring single by Betemit in the second, and he walked Pena to load the bases with one out. Leyland then went to the mound for what looked like a one-way conversation with his left-hander. After that, Escobar hit into a force play to drive in another run, and Chris Getz grounded out.

Coke didn't allow another baserunner until Billy Butler's two-out single in the sixth.


Butler extended his hitting streak to seven games, and 21 straight against the Tigers. ... Victor Martinez, signed by Detroit to be the regular DH, started at catcher. He threw out Butler trying to steal in the sixth and made an even better throw the following inning when Francoeur struck out but the ball skipped away. Francoeur was slow to react, and Martinez threw him out at first from near the Detroit dugout.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Billy Butler doubles to left field in the ninth as the Royals secure a win on the road over the Tigers. (Getty Images)
Billy Butler doubles to left field in the ninth as the Royals secure a win on the road over the Tigers. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Kansas City

B. Chen
IP 6.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 1
K 7

R. Raburn
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

Related Video

Kansas City Royals
Chris Getz, 2B3000112 .346
Melky Cabrera, CF4000021 .275
Alex Gordon, LF4110010 .378
Billy Butler, DH3120100 .414
Kila Ka'aihue, 1B3000131 .167
Jeff Francoeur, RF3111010 .265
Wilson Betemit, 3B3011101 .235
Brayan Pena, C2000101 .333
Alcides Escobar, SS3001000 .171
2B - Billy Butler (2, Weinhardt)
SF - Jeff Francoeur (1)
RBI - Jeff Francoeur (5), Wilson Betemit (3), Alcides Escobar (3)
CS - Billy Butler (1, 2nd base by Coke/Martinez)
Team LOB - 4
Outfield Assists - Alex Gordon 1
Kansas City Royals
Bruce Chen (W,1-0) 6300170 4.09
Aaron Crow (H,1) 1.1100010 0.00
Tim Collins (H,1) 0.1000210 0.00
Robinson Tejeda (H,2) 0.1000000 4.15
Joakim Soria (S,2) 1111011 7.50
Pitches-Strikes - Bruce Chen 82-53, Aaron Crow 18-11, Tim Collins 16-8, Robinson Tejeda 1-1, Joakim Soria 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bruce Chen 5-5, Aaron Crow 2-1
Batters Faced - Bruce Chen 21, Aaron Crow 5, Tim Collins 3, Robinson Tejeda 1, Joakim Soria 4
Detroit Tigers
Austin Jackson, CF4000023 .176
Will Rhymes, 2B3010101 .200
Magglio Ordonez, DH4010004 .238
Miguel Cabrera, 1B4000020 .333
Victor Martinez, C3000110 .250
Ryan Raburn, LF4111011 .263
Jhonny Peralta, SS4010011 .320
Brandon Inge, 3B3000031 .269
Casper Wells, RF2010000 .333
   a- Brennan Boesch, PH-RF0000100 .364
a-walked for Wells in the 8th
2B - Magglio Ordonez (1, Chen)
HR - Ryan Raburn (1, Soria)
RBI - Ryan Raburn (2)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Raburn (2)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Peralta-Rhymes-Cabrera, Inge-Rhymes-Cabrera
Detroit Tigers
Phil Coke (L,0-2) 6.2322470 4.00
Robbie Weinhardt 1.1211010 6.75
Brad Thomas 1000100 16.20
Pitches-Strikes - Phil Coke 90-58, Robbie Weinhardt 19-14, Brad Thomas 8-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Phil Coke 6-5, Robbie Weinhardt 2-1, Brad Thomas 1-1
Batters Faced - Phil Coke 25, Robbie Weinhardt 6, Brad Thomas 3
Game Information
Attendance - 33810
Game Time - 2:29
Temperature - 46
Umpires - Home - Andy Fletcher, First Base - Tim Welke, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Mike DiMuro