The possibility remains that this is only temporary relief, a sip of water that hardly breaks up a long walk through the desert.
Whatever. The Royals will take it: a 7-3 win over the Tigers on Sunday, their first win in eight games, and all of Detroit’s mistakes that led to it.
Weird game, too, and not just because two fans in the Crown Seats wearing Emil Brown jerseys watched the .235-hitting Esteban German take his first intentional walk in more than a thousand big league plate appearances.
A fair microcosm from the Royals’ perspective: They took the lead in the fifth inning with a run on a sacrifice fly and another on a wild pitch from control specialist Kenny Rogers that bounced over the netting and into the seats behind home plate.
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Oh, there were well-earned highlights from the Royals. Brandon Duckworth was solid, if not spectacular, in his emergency start, giving up three runs in five innings. Jose Guillen crushed a changeup 418 feet over the left field wall. Alberto Callaspo had three hits and a perfect relay throw to get Magglio Ordonez at the plate.
Those successes, combined with persistent failures from the Tigers, helped overcome some sloppiness by the Royals. Duckworth pitched behind in the count to 15 of the first 21 batters he faced. Mark Teahen took an error when his throw allowed Curtis Granderson to escape a rundown, but Granderson would’ve been safe anyway because nobody covered third base.
But the Tigers were sloppier, another disappointment for a $138 million payroll that’s underperformed most of the season. Ordonez misplayed an out into a double in right; Marcus Thames did the same in left. They had Joey Gathright caught between third and home, but let him score anyway.
And Rogers allowed seven runs for the fourth time this season.
None of that matters to the Royals, of course. They lost 14 of their previous 16, and hadn’t won in more than a week.
There may be a little more water in the desert. Gil Meche and Zack Greinke start the first two games against the struggling Rangers in a series that starts Monday.