Kansas City Royals

Mike Montgomery enjoys a career night as Royals beat the Tigers

The Royals drafted left-hander Mike Montgomery in 2008, and 11 years later he finally picked up his first win with the Royals.

Montgomery, whom the Royals traded away in 2012 and re-acquired via a trade for Martin Maldonado last month, enjoyed a career-best performance in just his fifth start of the season to put his club on track for a 7-0 win over the Detroit Tigers in front of an announced 26,028 in the third game of a four-game series at Comerica Park on Saturday night.

The teams will wrap up their series and the Royals will conclude their 10-game road trip on Sunday afternoon. The Royals (42-76) will try to earn a series split.

The game serves as the 25th Annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game for the Tigers (35-79). They held a pregame ceremony recognizing former members of the Negro Leagues. Both teams wore Negro Leagues tribute uniforms representing the Detroit Stars and Kansas City Monarchs.

“It was pretty enjoyable,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “You could tell (Montgomery) was right from the onset, he was on top of his game. Twelve punch outs, no walks, commanding his pitches. I take it back, I think he went 3-0 on the first hitter, I thought, ‘Oh man.’ He ended up striking him out, striking out the second hitter, striking out the third hitter. He looked great.”

Montgomery would never have predicted this back at the start of 2012 when he went to big-league camp with the Royals.

“I probably wouldn’t have believed it,” Montgomery said of his first win coming seven years later. “I’ve had a lot of difference experiences since I was last a Royal. To get my first win for the Royals feels good, and to do it this way with a career-high in strikeouts makes it even sweeter.”

Montgomery (2-5) pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out a career-high 12 without issuing a walk to get his first win with the Royals. Montgomery allowed four hits, all singles.

The last Royals pitcher with 12 strikeouts and zero walks in an outing was Zack Greinke against Cincinnati on June 13, 2010. Greinke struck out 12 in a complete-game win. Only three pitchers in Royals history have struck out 12 or more without a walk. Luke Hochevar did it against the Texas Rangers on July 25, 2009. Hochevar struck out 13 in seven innings.

The Royals’ Jorge Soler hit is 33rd home run of the season on Saturday, pulling him within five of Mike Moustakas’ single-season club record of 38 set in 2017. Hunter Dozier tripled and drove in a run for KC, and Whit Merrifield had two hits and scored two runs.

Soler smoked a high fastball from Tigers starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull over the right-center-field wall with Merrifield on base. Soler’s blast traveled an estimated 444 feet and gave the Royals a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning. They never relinquished the lead.

Montgomery threw four perfect innings to start his outing. He struck out the side in the first and fourth innings. The top three batters in the Tigers order went 0 for 6 with six strikeouts the first two times through the lineup.

Montgomery had struck out season-high seven batters in his previous start against the Red Sox on Monday. Saturday night against the Tigers, Montgomery surpassed that total by the end of the fourth inning.

“I honestly felt a little tired in the bullpen,” Montgomery said. “It’s the end of a long road trip. I went 3-0 on the first guy, and I kinda just reminded myself not to overdo it and trust what you got today and just execute. It worked out.”

The Royals added two runs to their lead without a hit in the seventh.

Soler reached via an error and stole his first base since May 27, 2018. After a Bubba Starling walk, Meibrys Viloria hit a grounder towards the mound with two outs. Tigers pitcher Gregory Soto fielded and threw wildly to first base. Both Soler and Starling scored on the play.

Dozier’s RBI single in the eighth drove in Merrifield for the fifth run of the evening.

The Royals tacked on two more in the top of the ninth which included the Tigers outfielders actually tripping over one another at one point while going after a fly ball hit by Merrifield. That dropped in for a two-out two-run double.

The Royals will send right-hander Jakob Junis (7-10, 4.88) to the hill in the series finale Sunday, while left-hander Daniel Norris (3-9, 4.76) is scheduled to start for the Tigers.

Royals 7, Tigers 0

Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Merrifield 2b

4

2

2

2

1

1

.305

Gordon lf

5

0

0

0

0

2

.265

Dozier rf

4

0

1

1

0

0

.280

Soler dh

4

2

1

2

0

0

.254

Cuthbert 3b

4

0

0

0

0

0

.283

O’Hearn 1b

3

0

0

0

1

2

.171

Starling cf

2

2

0

0

2

0

.233

Viloria c

4

0

0

0

0

1

.239

Arteaga ss

3

1

1

0

1

1

.195

Totals

33

7

5

5

5

7

Detroit

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Reyes cf

4

0

1

0

0

2

.255

Goodrum 2b

4

0

0

0

0

2

.247

Cabrera dh

4

0

1

0

0

2

.285

Dixon 1b

4

0

2

0

0

0

.263

Lugo 3b

4

0

0

0

0

2

.224

Castro lf

3

0

1

0

0

2

.282

Demeritte rf

3

0

1

0

0

0

.235

Rogers c

3

0

0

0

0

2

.182

Mercer ss

3

0

0

0

0

2

.247

Totals

32

0

6

0

0

14

Kansas City

000

200

212

7

5

0

Detroit

000

000

000

0

6

2

E—Mercer (7), Soto (2). LOB—Kansas City 4, Detroit 5. 2B—Merrifield (33). 3B—Dozier (6). HR—Soler (33), off Turnbull. RBIs—Merrifield 2 (59), Dozier (64), Soler 2 (82). SB—Soler (1). CS—Dixon (1).

Runners left in scoring position—Kansas City 4 (Gordon, Dozier, Cuthbert, Arteaga); Detroit 1 (Reyes). RISP—Kansas City 3 for 13; Detroit 0 for 2.

Runners moved up—Gordon 2. GIDP—Viloria.

DP—Kansas City 1 (Viloria, Merrifield); Detroit 2 (Lugo, Goodrum, Dixon), (Goodrum, Mercer, Dixon).

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Montgomery, W, 2-5

7

4

0

0

0

12

100

5.19

McCarthy

1

1

0

0

0

1

14

4.30

Kennedy

1

1

0

0

0

1

23

3.11

Detroit

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Turnbull, L, 3-10

6

3

2

2

1

3

90

3.68

Soto

1 1/3

0

3

1

2

2

38

6.97

Cisnero

2/3

1

0

0

0

0

10

4.05

Schreiber

1

1

2

2

2

2

25

16.20

Inherited runners-scored—Cisnero 1-1. WP—Schreiber. PB—Viloria (1), Rogers 2 (3).

Umpires—Home, Vic Carapazza; First, Jeremie Rehak; Second, Hunter Wendelstedt; Third, Laz Diaz.

T—2:47. A—26,028 (41,297).

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Lynn Worthy covers the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball for The Star. A native of the Northeast, he’s covered high school, collegiate and professional sports for The Lowell Sun, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Allentown Morning Call and The Salt Lake Tribune. He’s won awards for sports features and sports columns.
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