Starling, Keller send Royals to 4-1 win over Tigers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Bubba Starling's first career hit was admittedly a little imperfect.

Then again, so was his route to the majors.

The hometown boy from nearby Gardner, Kansas, toiled away for more than seven years in the minors, more than once thinking about giving up the game. But he was finally called up by the Kansas City Royals this week, and he finally delivered that hit - a timely one, too - on Saturday night.

Starling's single in the fifth inning off Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd tied the game, and with help from a stellar star by Brad Keller, the Royals went on to beat Detroit 4-1.

''It means a lot,'' Starling said. ''I was talking to Lucas Duda, `When did you get your first hit?' And he said it took him a long time, and I was like `Man, I hope it doesn't take me long.'''

Well, it wasn't exactly a sharply-hit single.

It counted just the same.

''It got in on me a little bit,'' Starling admitted, ''but a knock is a knock.''

Keller (5-9) allowed an RBI single to Harold Castro in the second but otherwise shut down Detroit, allowing four hits over eight innings. He struck out seven without a walk after entering the game having allowed the second-most free passes in the American League this season.

Ian Kennedy worked the ninth to earn his second save in as many nights.

''I just tried to pump as many strikes as I could,'' Keller said. ''That's going to be the key.''

Boyd (6-7) faced the minimum number of batters through four innings before things came undone. He wound up allowing four runs on six hits and four walks while striking out 10.

Cheslor Cuthbert drove in a pair of runs and Nicky Lopez also had an RBI for the Royals, who have won the first two games out of the All-Star break as they continue to build for the future.

Starling might be part of that after more than seven years toiling in the minors. The former No. 5 overall draft pick was called up on Thursday and made his big league debut the following night, though he had to wait until the fifth inning Saturday for a hit.

At least half a dozen scouts showed up to watch Boyd, whom the Tigers are expected to shop ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline, and for the first four innings he was just about perfect.

The left-hander gave up a leadoff single to Whit Merrifield, the big league leader in hits, then wiped him out by getting Alex Gordon to ground into an inning-ending double play. Boyd then slapped down the Royals in order the next three innings, striking out six along the way.

The first crack surfaced when Hunter Dozier led off the fifth with sharp double to left.

Jorge Soler walked and Cuthbert flied out to bring up Starling, who walked and scored in his big league debut but was still searching for his first hit. The hometown boy delivered it, bringing Dozier across to knot the game 1-all and producing a raucous standing ovation.

Lopez followed with the go-ahead single before Boyd got another inning-ending double play.

Boyd's command never returned, either. He walked a trio of batters in the sixth to load the bases for Cuthbert, whose two-out single through the left side of the infield made it 4-1.

''I think he walked a few guys and a couple of them scored. He gave us a great opportunity,'' Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''We haven't been giving him enough run support so he has to be perfect.''

Keller escaped a two-on, two-out jam in the eighth before Kennedy finished off the ninth.

''He was just pounding the zone,'' Starling said. ''All night. He made it easy for us.''

STATS AND STREAKS

Detroit has lost five straight and 20 of 23. ... Boyd has allowed at least four runs in five straight starts. He is 4-9 with a 6.29 ERA in 17 career starts against Kansas City. ... Keller is unbeaten in his last four starts. ... Merrifield has an 11-game hit streak.

UP NEXT

The Royals send right-hander Homer Bailey (7-6, 4.80 ERA), who has won both his starts against the Tigers this season, to the mound in the series finale Sunday. Jordan Zimmermann (0-6, 6.29) tries again for his first win of the season after losing to Boston last weekend.

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123456789RHE
DET28-59
010000000140
KC32-61
00002200X480
  • W: B. Keller (5-9)L: M. Boyd (6-7)S: I. Kennedy (13)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
V. Reyes CF40000012.265.342.353.695-0.5
N. Castellanos RF40000000.279.339.463.8020.0
M. Cabrera DH40000010.298.361.390.751-0.5
C. Stewart LF40000030.233.313.388.700-1.5
B. Dixon 1B31100010.245.279.474.7531.5
J. Candelario 3B30000011.212.304.355.659-0.5
H. Castro 2B30110000.295.315.410.7254.0
B. Wilson C20000001.133.161.167.3280.0
a- J. Hicks PH-C10100000.199.237.324.5601.0
J. Mercer SS30100010.188.250.294.5440.5
M. Boyd P0000-000.500.500.500.000-
J. Jimenez P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
  • a-singled for Wilson in the 8th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
W. Merrifield RF31200110.309.360.497.8583.5
A. Mondesi SS30000022.265.295.438.733-1.0
A. Gordon LF31100111.275.356.444.8002.5
H. Dozier 3B41100013.277.361.523.8842.5
J. Soler DH21100200.244.314.509.8234.0
B. Hamilton PR-DH00000000.217.284.271.5550.0
C. Cuthbert 1B40120014.286.312.444.7552.5
B. Starling CF30110012.167.286.167.4521.5
N. Lopez 2B30110010.240.284.316.6001.5
M. Maldonado C30000022.224.288.359.647-1.0
B. Keller P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
I. Kennedy P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    BATTING
    • 3B - H. Castro (3)
    • RBI - H. Castro (10)
    • 2-Out RBI - H. Castro (5)
    • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - V. Reyes 2 (2), B. Wilson
    BATTING
    • 2B - H. Dozier (16)
    • SH - A. Mondesi (2)
    • RBI - C. Cuthbert 2 (20), B. Starling, N. Lopez (9)
    • 2-Out RBI - C. Cuthbert 2 (11)
    • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - A. Mondesi, B. Starling 2 (2)
    FIELDING
    • DP - 3 (Candelario-Mercer-Dixon; Candelario-Castro-Dixon; Candelario-Castro-Dixon)
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    M. Boyd (L, 6-7)7.064441003.951.147.0
    J. Jimenez1.02000004.671.361.0
    PITCHERSIP
    M. Boyd (L, 6-7)7.0
    J. Jimenez1.0
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    B. Keller (W, 5-9)8.04110704.251.3832.5
    I. Kennedy (S, 13)1.00000103.411.2210.5
    PITCHERSIP
    B. Keller (W, 5-9)8.0
    I. Kennedy (S, 13)1.0
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - M. Boyd 109-75, J. Jimenez 13-10
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - M. Boyd 5-4, J. Jimenez 1-1
    • Batters Faced - M. Boyd 29, J. Jimenez 4
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - B. Keller 104-82, I. Kennedy 12-9
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - B. Keller 12-5, I. Kennedy 1-1
    • Batters Faced - B. Keller 28, I. Kennedy 3
    PLAYERS OF THE GAME
    123456789RHE
    DET28-59
    010000000140
    KC32-61
    00002200X480
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    V. Reyes CF40000012.265.342.353.695-0.5
    N. Castellanos RF40000000.279.339.463.8020.0
    M. Cabrera DH40000010.298.361.390.751-0.5
    C. Stewart LF40000030.233.313.388.700-1.5
    B. Dixon 1B31100010.245.279.474.7531.5
    J. Candelario 3B30000011.212.304.355.659-0.5
    H. Castro 2B30110000.295.315.410.7254.0
    B. Wilson C20000001.133.161.167.3280.0
    a- J. Hicks PH-C10100000.199.237.324.5601.0
    J. Mercer SS30100010.188.250.294.5440.5
    M. Boyd P0000-000.500.500.500.000-
    J. Jimenez P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    Total311410084-----
    • a-singled for Wilson in the 8th
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    W. Merrifield RF31200110.309.360.497.8583.5
    A. Mondesi SS30000022.265.295.438.733-1.0
    A. Gordon LF31100111.275.356.444.8002.5
    H. Dozier 3B41100013.277.361.523.8842.5
    J. Soler DH21100200.244.314.509.8234.0
    B. Hamilton PR-DH00000000.217.284.271.5550.0
    C. Cuthbert 1B40120014.286.312.444.7552.5
    B. Starling CF30110012.167.286.167.4521.5
    N. Lopez 2B30110010.240.284.316.6001.5
    M. Maldonado C30000022.224.288.359.647-1.0
    B. Keller P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    I. Kennedy P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
    Total28484041014-----
      BATTING
      • 3B - H. Castro (3)
      • RBI - H. Castro (10)
      • 2-Out RBI - H. Castro (5)
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - V. Reyes 2 (2), B. Wilson
      BATTING
      • 2B - H. Dozier (16)
      • SH - A. Mondesi (2)
      • RBI - C. Cuthbert 2 (20), B. Starling, N. Lopez (9)
      • 2-Out RBI - C. Cuthbert 2 (11)
      • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - A. Mondesi, B. Starling 2 (2)
      FIELDING
      • DP - 3 (Candelario-Mercer-Dixon; Candelario-Castro-Dixon; Candelario-Castro-Dixon)
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      M. Boyd (L, 6-7)7.064441003.951.147.0
      J. Jimenez1.02000004.671.361.0
      Total8.08444100---
      PITCHERSIP
      M. Boyd (L, 6-7)7.0
      J. Jimenez1.0
      Total8.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      B. Keller (W, 5-9)8.04110704.251.3832.5
      I. Kennedy (S, 13)1.00000103.411.2210.5
      Total9.0411080---
      PITCHERSIP
      B. Keller (W, 5-9)8.0
      I. Kennedy (S, 13)1.0
      Total9.0
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - M. Boyd 109-75, J. Jimenez 13-10
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - M. Boyd 5-4, J. Jimenez 1-1
      • Batters Faced - M. Boyd 29, J. Jimenez 4
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - B. Keller 104-82, I. Kennedy 12-9
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - B. Keller 12-5, I. Kennedy 1-1
      • Batters Faced - B. Keller 28, I. Kennedy 3
      • 6TH INNING
        Cuthbert singled to shallow left, Merrifield and Gordon scored, Soler to second14
      • 5TH INNING
        Lopez singled to right, Soler scored, Starling to third12
        Starling singled to left, Dozier scored, Soler to second11
      • 2ND INNING
        Castro tripled to deep right, Dixon scored10
      • 9TH INNING
        • Ian Kennedy relieved Brad Keller
        • N. Castellanos: Ball, Castellanos grounded out to third
        • M. Cabrera: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Cabrera flied out to center
        • C. Stewart: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul tip, Stewart struck out on foul tip
        • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 8TH INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • J. Candelario: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Candelario flied out to center
        • H. Castro: Strike looking, Castro grounded out to shortstop
        • John Hicks hit for Bobby Wilson
        • J. Hicks: Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Foul, Hicks singled to center
        • J. Mercer: Mercer singled to center, Hicks to second
        • V. Reyes: Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Reyes fouled out to left
        • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • Joe Jimenez relieved Matthew Boyd
        • A. Gordon: Strike swinging, Gordon singled to center
        • H. Dozier: Dozier flied out to right
        • J. Soler: Ball, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Soler singled to shallow right, Gordon to third
        • Billy Hamilton ran for Jorge Soler
        • C. Cuthbert: Foul, Foul, Cuthbert grounded into double play third to second to first, Hamilton out at second
        • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 7TH INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • M. Cabrera: Foul, Cabrera grounded out to shortstop
        • C. Stewart: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike looking, Stewart struck out looking
        • B. Dixon: Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Dixon grounded out to third
        • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • M. Boyd Pitching:
        • N. Lopez: Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Lopez lined out to center
        • M. Maldonado: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Maldonado struck out looking
        • W. Merrifield: Merrifield singled to right center
        • A. Mondesi: Foul, Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Mondesi struck out swinging
        • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 6TH INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • J. Mercer: Strike looking, Strike looking, Strike looking, Mercer struck out looking
        • V. Reyes: Strike swinging, Foul, Reyes grounded out to pitcher
        • N. Castellanos: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Castellanos lined out to center
        • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • M. Boyd Pitching:
        • W. Merrifield: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Merrifield walked
        • A. Mondesi: Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Strike swinging, Pickoff attempt, Mondesi hit sacrifice bunt to pitcher, Merrifield to second
        • A. Gordon: Pickoff attempt, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Gordon walked
        • H. Dozier: Strike (foul tip), Foul, Dozier flied out to left
        • J. Soler: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Soler walked, Merrifield to third, Gordon to second
        • C. Cuthbert: Cuthbert singled to shallow left, Merrifield and Gordon scored, Soler to second
        • B. Starling: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Starling struck out swinging
        • End of the 6th (2 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 5TH INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • J. Candelario: Candelario lined out to left
        • H. Castro: Strike looking, Castro grounded out to second
        • B. Wilson: Strike looking, Foul, Wilson grounded out to shortstop
        • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • M. Boyd Pitching:
        • H. Dozier: Dozier doubled to deep left
        • J. Soler: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Soler walked
        • C. Cuthbert: Foul, Cuthbert flied out to deep center, Dozier to third
        • B. Starling: Ball, Starling singled to left, Dozier scored, Soler to second
        • N. Lopez: Lopez singled to right, Soler scored, Starling to third
        • M. Maldonado: Maldonado grounded into double play third to second to first, Lopez out at second
        • End of the 5th (2 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 4TH INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • M. Cabrera: Cabrera grounded out to third
        • C. Stewart: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike (foul tip), Stewart grounded out to second
        • B. Dixon: Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Dixon struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • M. Boyd Pitching:
        • W. Merrifield: Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Merrifield struck out looking
        • A. Mondesi: Mondesi grounded out to third
        • A. Gordon: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Gordon struck out swinging
        • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 3RD INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • J. Mercer: Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Mercer grounded out to third
        • V. Reyes: Strike looking, Foul, Reyes lined out to left
        • N. Castellanos: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Castellanos grounded out to shortstop
        • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • M. Boyd Pitching:
        • B. Starling: Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Starling grounded out to second
        • N. Lopez: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Lopez struck out looking
        • M. Maldonado: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Maldonado struck out swinging
        • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 2ND INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • C. Stewart: Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Stewart struck out swinging
        • B. Dixon: Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Dixon singled to shallow center
        • J. Candelario: Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Candelario struck out swinging
        • H. Castro: Foul, Castro tripled to deep right, Dixon scored
        • B. Wilson: Foul, Wilson grounded out to second
        • Middle of the 2nd (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • M. Boyd Pitching:
        • H. Dozier: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Dozier struck out swinging
        • J. Soler: Ball, Strike swinging, Strike (foul tip), Ball, Ball, Soler lined out to center
        • C. Cuthbert: Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Cuthbert struck out swinging
        • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 1ST INNING
        • B. Keller Pitching:
        • V. Reyes: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike looking, Reyes struck out looking
        • N. Castellanos: Foul, Strike swinging, Foul, Castellanos grounded out to first
        • M. Cabrera: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Cabrera struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • M. Boyd Pitching:
        • W. Merrifield: Foul, Merrifield singled to center
        • A. Mondesi: Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Mondesi struck out swinging
        • A. Gordon: Pickoff attempt, Gordon grounded into double play third to shortstop to first, Merrifield out at second
        • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)