DETROIT A four-day break wont likely fix all thats broken with the Royals, but just not playing for four days can only be a positive step.
I think this break is coming at a perfect time for us, right fielder Jeff Francoeur suggested. I just need to get away. I think all of us do. Just to regroup.
Or try to.
The Royals closed out a season-long trip Sunday season-long in all conceivable connotations with a desultory 7-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
So ended a miserable 3-8 journey that began, remember, with a pulsating victory at Minnesota. But the end, after three weekend losses at Comerica Park, finds the Royals back to 10 games under .500 at 37-47.
Oh, yeah, it was a bad trip, shortstop Alcides Escobar agreed. The whole team was struggling on this road trip. We need to take these four days and just relax. Then come back and play hard.
And play better. A lot better. This trip virtually canceled out two-plus months of solid work that saw the Royals nearly (not quite, but nearly) dig their way clear from a 12-game April losing streak that left them 11 games under .500.
The Tigers built a 3-1 lead Sunday on homers by Jhonny Peralta and Delmon Young, but the defining moment came in the fifth inning with the game still much in doubt.
Royals manager Ned Yost pulled starter Everett Teaford with one out and runners at first and third to summon another lefty, Tim Collins, to face Prince Fielder. Now, Yost knows Fielder as well as anyone from four years together in Milwaukee.
Collins is a different-look lefty, Yost said, because hes got an above-average changeup and a good curveball. We just never got to it. He threw a fastball down the middle on the first pitch.
Fielder jumped that first-pitch fastball and put it deep into the right-field seats for a three-run homer and a 6-1 lead.
Only two questions remained at that point: When does that Futures Game start? And are we sure Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi have return tickets to Class AAA Omaha? (Every indication is, yes, they do.)
Fielders homer provided ESPN with a promotional clip for his participation tonight in the Home Run Derby at Kauffman Stadium. It also, for all practical purposes, sealed the game.
Tigers starter Max Scherzer, the former Missouri All-American, yielded just one run and five hits in seven innings. He improved to 8-5 when relievers Phil Coke and Octavio Dotel closed out the victory.
(Scherzer) was different today, first baseman Eric Hosmer said. Usually, he attacks with his fastball, and his off-speed stuff is usually just OK although with his fastball, its good enough to get you off-balance.
Today, he was coming out of the gate with off-speed. Then when he was behind, he was pumping that fastball.
Teaford, 1-2, gave up five runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings as a follow-up to his winning start last Monday at Toronto. Collins struck out four of five batters after Fielders homer.
Ive got to do a better job of giving us a chance to win the ballgame, Teaford said. Thats the bottom line. My main goal was to pitch well and give a chance deep into the game and, hopefully, send us home on a positive.
We just didnt get it done.
The Tigers scored their final run in the eighth against Greg Holland on Peraltas RBI double.
Teaford retired the first five Tigers before finding two-out trouble in the second when Brennan Boesch pulled a single to right and Peralta followed by yanking a two-run homer just inside the left-field line.
The Royals got one run back when Salvy Perez led off the third inning with a slicing homer to right. It was Perezs fourth homer in 45 at-bats since returning from the disabled list.
Young pushed the lead to 3-1 by leading off the Detroit fourth with his fourth homer in four games and it was no cheapie. The ball sailed an estimated 433 feet into the hedges beyond the center-field wall.
The Royals threatened in the fifth after Francoeur led off with a single and went to third on Alex Gordons two-out double, but Scherzer stranded both by striking out Escobar on a low 98-mph fastball.
Im looking for a fastball, too, Escobar said, but that was 98. That pitch beat me.
That segued to the Detroit fifth, which began with Austin Jackson leading off with a single on a two-hop grounder that went between the legs of third baseman Mike Moustakas. It did extend Jacksons career-best hitting streak to 15 games.
Quintin Berry followed with a single to right that moved Jackson to third. Yost opted for Collins over Teaford and thats where you came in and where the Royals went out.
We need to take these four days and relax, Hosmer said. In the second half, theres a lot of stuff that needs to change. And Im the biggest one in that. We need to come back ready to go in the second half.